Maybe not – it’s not as if he is fighting cancer like Yuvraj Singh, but put it this way if Bopara bought a racehorse the most apt name would be Black Cat given the number of the feline creatures that seemed to have crossed his path in the last few years.
Consider the evidence. After the debacle at Headingley in 2009, the selectors could just have easily have dropped Ian Bell or Paul Collingwood, but it was Bopara (promoted above his level at number three) who proved to be the fall guy. Then to make matters worse, his replacement – a certain Jonathan Trott – came in and scored a nerveless hundred on debut. Bang! That was one door firmly shut in Bopara’s face.
Finally, an opening in the Test side emerged with Collingwood’s retirement at the end of the Ashes series last winter. Ravi sacrificed a money-spinning jaunt in the IPL, impressed with bat and ball in the County Championship and looked in pole position for a call-up to face Sri Lanka at Cardiff. Then Eoin Morgan hopped off a plane from India and smashed 193 in the Lions game against the tourists. Slam! Another door was smashed into Ravi’s face.
And now perhaps the cruellest one of all. Having seen Morgan being dropped after failing dismally in the desert against Pakistan, Bopara looked finally to have secured the number six spot for the 1st Test in Galle before a side strain meant England decided to opt for the extra overs offered by Samit Patel in the Sri Lankan heat. Given it is the same venue where in 2007 a pair led to him being dropped from the Test side for the first time, Bopara’s sore luck will be particularly galling (sorry, we couldn’t resist that one). Crash! Another day, another door shut for Bopara.
If this sorry tale of woe isn’t a case of rotten misfortune, we don’t know what is.
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