Bopara: Punjab da Puttar set to don British colours

Published: Saturday, January 13, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Yet another Indian-born cricketer makes his way to the multi-ethnic England team with uncapped Essex bat Ravi Bopara being penciled in as Kevin Pietersen's cover for the one day series in Australia.

Pietersen was ruled out of the rest of the tri-series after hit by a Glenn McGrath delivery, which broke a rib in England's eight-wicket loss to Australia in Melbourne yesterday and that opened the door for Bopara.

''Ravi has been brought in because he is a middle order batsman who impressed in his time with the Academy in Perth earlier in the winter,'' England chairman of selectors David Graveney said in a statement.

''He has also been a regular with Essex during their one-day successes in recent years and we decided that he was the best option available,' he added.

Born to Punjabi parents in East Ham, Ravinder Singh Bopara impressed enough to find a berth in the England team for the Under-19 World Cup in 2003 and ''Puppy'', as the 5'10'' top order bat is known as, earned a professional contract with Essex at an early age of 17.

Also included in the England A squad for the West Indies tour, the batsman, who can also chip in with military medium pace, found going tough in the Caribbean but struck form in country cricket and was in fact in England's preliminary team for last year's ICC Champions Trophy.

Currently touring Australia with the English Academy squad, Bopara once told William Greaves, the co-founder of ''Capital Kids Cricket'' that he wanted to be the ''English Tendulkar'' and his other idol was VVS Laxman.

Bopara's father Charanjit Singh Bopara was born in India and came to London as a boy and Bopara had little difficulty in passing the Norman Tebbit Test, named after the former Tory chairman, who had remarked that Asians could not be British unless they supported England in a Test match against country of their birth.

Bopara starred with a 46-run knock off 52 balls in Essex's win over Pakistan at Chelmsford last year.


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