Leicestershire wicket-keeper Paul Nixon preferred ahead of Chris Read is the other surprise packet in the 15-member squad for the World Cup.
Bopara, who got the nod ahead of Lancashire opener Mal Loye, and Nixon both made their one-day debuts for England during the just-finished Tri-Nations series in Australia.
Chairman of Selectors, David Graveney, said on Wednesday: "The selectors were delighted with the team's outstanding performance in winning the Commonwealth Bank (Tri-Nations) Series and we have retained the bulk of the squad who were in Australia for the World Cup.
On Bopara's surprise selection David Graveney said, "We have included Ravi Bopara because we believe he is a multi-dimensional cricketer whose all-round talents will help give the squad a better balance."
"Michael Vaughan, James Anderson and Jon Lewis are all still recovering from injuries at present and have been named in the squad subject to a further re-assessment prior to our departure for the Caribbean," Graveney said.
"They will continue to undergo intensive treatment over the next fortnight and the medical staff will be giving the selectors regular updates on their progress. Kevin Pietersen, however, is now fully recovered from his rib injury and will be keen to make an impact in his first World Cup."
"This is a youthful squad with a number of highly promising players who made an excellent impression in Australia. The challenge facing the team now is to build on those performances 'down under' and peak at the right time in the Caribbean,"he added.
England are scheduled to leave for the Caribbean on March 2nd and play their first warm-up match against Bermuda in St Vincent on March 5th. Their first match in the tournament's Group Stage is against New Zealand in St Lucia on March 16th.
Michael Vaughan (captain), Ed Joyce, Ravi Bopara, Ian Bell, Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff (vice-capt), Paul Nixon (wicketkeeper), Jamie Dalrymple, Monty Panesar, Jon Lewis, James Anderson, Liam Plunkett and Sajid Mahmood. Coach: Duncan Fletcher.