Cricket - Bopara 'back at top of my game'

Ravi Bopara is ready to grab his latest international lifeline after he was selected in England's Champions Trophy squad.

PA Sport
Cricket - Bopara 'back at top of my game'
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Ravi Bopara has not played for England since last September

The Essex all-rounder has been in and out of the international set-up in all three formats, with England consistently swayed by his natural ability and disappointed by a lack of consistency.

"I'm in the best place at the moment," he told Sky Sports News. "I'm very happy. I'm loving my game. It can be frustrating (being in and out of the team) but it didn't help that my problems came up at the back end of last summer."

Although he was in the 30-man provisional party for the tournament, the fact that he had not been selected in either of the squads since Ashley Giles took over the limited-overs reins looked likely to count him out.

He has not played for England since last September, having compiled just 22 runs in four innings against South Africa. At the time he appeared desperately short of confidence and has cited outside "problems" as a factor for such a paltry return, after he had scored 182 runs at an average of 91 against Australia earlier in the summer.

That type of return has persuaded England to take another chance on a player who averages 30.62 in 83 ODIs, and Bopara feels he is ready to repay their faith.

He added: "I played well against the Aussies. I felt 'right this is it, I'm at the top of my game now' and then a few things happened and it set me back.

"I feel like I'm back in that place again where I have to do what I did at the front end of the summer against the Aussies. There's no reasons why I can't."

Bopara's return counted against the dropped Samit Patel, another who has failed to deliver on a regular enough basis, while fellow all-rounders Luke Wright and Rikki Clarke also missed the cut.

Thirteen of the 15 places in the squad were effectively cemented several weeks ago, with the identity of the spare seamer the only other point of debate. Chris Woakes, a former Warwickshire protege of Giles, won a head to head battle with Jade Dernbach for that slot.

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