ESSEX batsman Ravi Bopara has been called up to England’s World Cup squad as a replacement for the injured Eoin Morgan.
The Irishman missed the final one-day international of the recent series against Australia after fracturing the middle finger of his left hand, a problem he first became aware of in the fourth one-day match in Adelaide.
The Middlesex left-hander has been an integral part of England’s one-day batting unit since he made his debut two years ago.
He is regarded as one of the most innovative batsmen in the game, a reputation that played a part in Kolkata Knight Riders paying $350,000 at the 2011 Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions for his services over the next three years. Bopara, however, should prove a more than satisfactory replacement. The 25-year-old is a versatile batsman and his medium-pace bowling, which has improved substantially over the past year will prove useful on the slow, low pitches of the subcontinent.
“No one is irreplaceable,” said England coach Andy Flower. “Ravi Bopara is a very talented and exciting player. He will also bring a bit of medium-pace bowling to help out.” Captain Andrew Strauss added: “We like what Ravi can bring to the game: his bowling and his batting, his ability to clear the ropes .”
England bowlers Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann, meanwhile, are all expected to have recovered from the injuries which cut short their involvement in Australia in time for England’s first World Cup game on 22 February.
HEAD-TO-HEAD | MORGAN V BOPARA
MORGAN: Caps 61, Runs 1904, N/O 11, Average 38.08, HS 115, SR 88.19, Hundreds 4, Fifties 10
BOPARA: Caps 54, Runs 1140, N/O 10, Average 28.50, , HS 60, SR 73.45, Hundreds 0, Fifties 4