Ravi gets England World Cup call-up

Bopara set to replace injured Morgan.

ESSEX all-rounder Ravi Bopara has been handed a World Cup lifeline, after being drafted into the England squad as a replacement for the injured Eoin Morgan.

The 25-year-old was left out of the original 15 man party for the tournament in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, but with Morgan requiring an operation on his finger, the former Hainault & Clayhall CC player has been selected as Morgan’s replacement.

Bopara played no part in the disappointing one-day series defeat against Australia and has been on England Lions duty in the West Indies.

Captain Andrew Strauss has backed Bopara to justify his call up.

“We like what he can bring to the game with his bowling, and his ability to clear the ropes will be important to us. He is a worthy addition to our squad,” said Strauss.

“He hasn’t had a chance to play for us recently, but he has been playing a lot of cricket around the world. He is desperate to get back in the ranks and this is his opportunity.”

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Coach Andy Flower is disappointed to have lost the services of Morgan, arguably England’s most important one-day player, but echoed Strauss’ opinion that Bopara can make his mark on the England side.

“Ravi Bopara is an exciting young cricketer in his own right,” said Flower.

“He will also bring a little bit of medium-paced bowling, which will help out the captain in those middle overs.

“We are very confident that the 15 guys we have out there will gel together and perform very powerfully.”

England will play two warm-up matches against Canada and Pakistan, before their opening Group B match against the Netherlands on February 22.

Completing the Group B line-up are Bangladesh, India, Ireland, South Africa and West Indies.

The top four go through to the quarter-final stage alongside the top four finishers from Group A. The final is scheduled for April 2 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, India where Australia will be hoping to secure their fourth consecutive World Cup crown.