x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Ravi Bopara's cold summer

The summer of 2011 was supposed to have been so different for Ravi Bopara, but he has fallen down the pecking order, making a brief appearance as the 12th man in the abandoned one-day international against India on Saturday.

Ravi Bopara's brief appearance as England's 12th man in the abandoned one-day international against India on Saturday was the personification of the idea that great expectations always come to nought.

The summer of 2011 was supposed to have been so different for a player labelled by one noted cricket sage, just two years ago, as English cricket's finest British Asian player to date.

At the start of it he hit a rich seam of form for Essex, his county, having eschewed the riches of the Indian Premier League to give himself the best chance of making England's Test side.

Then Eoin Morgan, fresh from kicking his heels in the IPL, nicked his spot in the side thanks to one sparkling innings.

And it all unravelled from there. Bopara did get his chance later in the summer but by then his form had dipped.

Then, when September's limited-overs internationals arrived, he had found himself usurped by another youngster, Ben Stokes, who found favour in Bopara's place even though he himself was injured and unable to bowl.

Just days before, Bopara had marshalled England's Twenty20 team into a winning position against the same opposition, but that seemed to have been quickly forgotten.

By the end if it all, he had been reduced to the role of a brief walk on extra, just making up the numbers while Stuart Broad nipped off to go to the toilet.

Bopara was once regarded as a great talent ready to bloom for England. Now he would be forgiven for thinking his face no longer fits.

pradley@thenational.ae


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