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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 13:38 GMT
Gooch applauds Bopara selection
Ravi Bopara
Bopara has talent but little experience of top-level cricket
Former England captain Graham Gooch has applauded the call-up of Essex's Ravi Bopara into the World Cup squad.

Bopara, 21, an all-rounder who bats in the middle order and bowls brisk medium pace, won a place at the expense of Lancashire veteran Mal Loye.

Gooch told BBC Essex: "I think it's a great inclusion. Ravi is a player who can fulfil a number of roles.

"He can bat up the order and bowl. I think you've got to have players in your top six who can bowl."

Gooch said 36-year-old wicket-keeper Paul Nixon might not last beyond the World Cup.

He said: "I think Nixon's selection is possibly a one-off for the World Cup and I don't have a problem with that.

"He's not the strongest wicket-keeper in the country but certainly has other contributions he can make.

"I would think if [Essex's] James Foster can start the season strongly the selectors are looking to fill that role long-term."

It's amazing how far this team could go

Paul Collingwood

He said Andrew Strauss fully merited his place in the squad, though he may struggle to play in the tournament.

Strauss has never been dropped since becoming an England player in 2004, but Gooch said: "In England's strongest one day team he's probably the batsman who'll miss out."

Paul Collingwood, player of the finals in the one-day tournament unexpectedly won by England earlier this month, said the squad was confident.

He told BBC Sport: "When you have beaten Australia three times in a row, and in between knocked over New Zealand who are a class outfit themselves, you have to feel confident.

"We have certainly proved we can beat the best sides in the world.

"We realise as a team, if we put peformances in, we can win a lot of games out there and you never know, we could go all the way.

"It's amazing how far this team could go."

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