Bopara looking to make mark for England
Ravi Bopara hopes to impress when he plays for England in the one day series against the West Indies
Ravi Bopara needs a productive and healthy NatWest Series more than most - to help convince England of his Test match as well as his one-day international viability.
He admits it was "depressing" to sit on the sidelines, after suffering a calf niggle before the squad was announced for the first of three Investec Tests against West Indies. The number six position, which seemed sure to be his, went instead to Jonny Bairstow.
A fit again Bopara has the chance to prove his mettle and durability once more in an England ODI middle order which will also contain Bairstow. He said: "I've said before that I'm not worried about the players coming through. I know what I'm capable of, and that is up to me. My Test career is in my own hands, and not anyone who is coming through."
Bopara is nonetheless well aware that a successful three-match series against the Windies, set to get under way at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday, will hardly go amiss.
"I would love to be playing Test cricket for England again," he said. "There are no guarantees - I've got to prove myself and score runs.
"It would be great if I could score heavily in this series and the Australian series. It would put me in a good place - ideal."
Bopara is not concerned yet either by his sudden run of injuries.
"It has been quite frustrating," he said. "But obviously I'm not injury prone. I'm fit, I'm strong, I can dive around and jump around without getting injured better than most."
Bopara, and others, have an obvious chance to press their claims in the absence of Kevin Pietersen, who has shocked world cricket by announcing his limited-overs retirement.
The tourists, meanwhile, welcome back their own game-changer - destructive opener Chris Gayle set to play for his country for the first time in 15 months after settling his differences with the West Indies board.