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Page last updated at 19:47 GMT, Sunday, 3 May 2009 20:47 UK

Bopara sets his sights on Ashes

First Test: England v West Indies
Venue: Lord's Dates: 6-10 May Start: 1100 BST
Coverage: Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, Radio 4 Long Wave, Red Button and online, with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & mobiles. Live on Sky Sports

Ravi Bopara
Bopara made his Test debut against Sri Lanka in December 2007

Ravi Bopara is hoping a strong performance in the two-Test series against the West Indies will secure his place in England's Ashes line-up.

The Essex all-rounder impressed with a score of 104 in his only Test appearance of England's tour of the Caribbean earlier this year.

"If I get runs there is a chance for me to bat at number three in the Ashes as well," said Bopara.

"It is nice to know my opportunity is here again."

Bopara's maiden Test century during the fourth-Test draw in Barbados convinced the selectors to install him ahead of Ian Bell, Michael Vaughan and Owais Shah for the start of this summer.

The Sri Lankans never panic and Yuvraj Singh spoke to me a lot about death hitting

Ravi Bopara

And the 23-year-old admits even he was taken aback at the high-profile names who will be absent when the two teams meet against at Lord's on Wednesday.

"It was a bit of a surprise to hear that Ian Bell, Owais Shah and Michael Vaughan weren't in the squad.

"I thought with Flintoff being injured one of them might have got a call-up but I am happy," said Bopara. "The guys have backed me and said 'you are the man to do it' and I want to prove them right."

Cook backs 'hugely talented' Bopara

Despite helping his side to a first innings total of 600 in his last England appearance, Bopara says he understands why he was dropped from the next match.

"I knew one of the batters would be left out because we needed to win the Test and had to play an extra bowler," he said.

"I had a feeling it would be me. Even coming off the back of a hundred I realised Owais deserved a run in the side. It was disappointing but also understandable."

Bopara has spent most of April playing for King's XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League.


Although he smashed 84 runs on his way to a win over Kevin Pietersen's Bangalore side, Bopara's form was otherwise patchy with an overall average of 27.6 from his five matches.

But he insists that the tournament has provided him with adequate practice as well as the experience of playing alongside some of the best batsmen in the world.

"The learning experience is amazing. I spoke a lot to Kumar Sangakkara and Yuvraj Singh. The Sri Lankans never panic and Yuvraj spoke to me a lot about death hitting. Hopefully I can put that into practice," he said.

"I know we are preparing for a Test match but I will still be practising my one-day stuff because cricket is all about scoring runs, no matter how you score them."

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see also
Delayed Gayle arrives in England
04 May 09 |  West Indies
England overlook Bell and Vaughan
29 Apr 09 |  England
Stewart backs Bopara to flourish
29 Apr 09 |  England
Bopara glad to grab second chance
27 Feb 09 |  England
Bopara outshines Pietersen in IPL
24 Apr 09 |  Cricket
West Indies in England 2009
04 Dec 08 |  Cricket

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