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Page last updated at 09:28 GMT, Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Essex positive on Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah deals

Owais Shah
Shah scored 804 runs in the 2010 County Championship season

Essex cricket coach Paul Grayson is confident that batsmen Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah will be playing for the county next season.

Shah, 32, left Middlesex earlier this year, whilst Bopara has been offered a deal to stay with Essex.

Grayson said: "The deal between the club and Owais is all progressing well. We remain confident he will sign.

"We are not very far away with Ravi, it is looking very promising and it will be resolved shortly."

The 25-year-old Bopara, who is currently playing in South Africa, has been offered a two-year deal.

Since making his first-class debut for Essex in 2002, he has played 10 Tests, scoring 502 runs at an average of 33.46, and 51 one-day internationals for England.

Shah has played six Tests, scoring 269 runs at an average of 26.90, and 71 one-day internationals for England. However he has been a heavy scorer in first-class domestic cricket, scoring approaching 14,000 runs and averaging over 40.

Grayson added: "We are just finalising certain aspects of Ravi's package because of the time away playing in the IPL."

Shah is also playing in South Africa and has revealed that he has spoken to four counties since his release from Middlesex.

Grayson is keen to bolster the Essex batting line-up next summer.

"Our batting has struggled for two or three seasons now and this is why we are after players like Owais Shah.

"I regard him as one of the top three or four English cricketers in the county game not currently playing for England, alongside others such as Mark Ramprakash."

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see also
Shah confirms Essex negotiations
15 Sep 10 |  Essex
Bopara to sign Essex deal - Gooch
13 Oct 10 |  Essex

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