Bopara ready for Test recall

Ravi Bopara is ready to stake his claim for the number 6 batting position in England’s Test line-up for the upcoming series against South Africa. That will sound like déjà vu for many England cricket fans. Bopara has been a frustratingly inconsistent batsman in recent years.

The number 6 position was vacated by Eoin Morgan when the flamboyant Irishman was sent away to work on his technique for Test matches. Bopara was in line to play in the Test series against West Indies before his injury allowed Jonny Bairstow to take the place.

Bairstow failed to convince and Bopara's recent excellent form in the one day matches against Australia suggest he is in confident mood and ready to return to Test action.

England coach Andy Flower wouldn’t be drawn on team selection, but was complimentary about Bopara’s displays against the Australians. "We want him to do well, like him as a friend and rate him as a cricketer," Flower said, "so it's very rewarding in a number of ways. He's experienced, I think he's played about 76 or so one-day internationals and I think now, certainly in this series, he's played a number of very confident innings. We all know how talented he is and he must convert that talent into results for us – and he's done that in the last couple of series."

Kevin Pietersen’s form and mentality will be crucial for England’s prospects against South Africa, although Flower singled out Ian Bell for particular praise. "I think we should respect the way he has grown as a player and rejoice in it," Flower said. "He is a lovely player to watch for all cricket lovers."

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