Is Jonny Bairstow the next Ravi Bopara?

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Ravi Bopara in an actual Test match

Regular readers will know we rather like Ravi Bopara. We don’t think he’s the next Bradman or owt, but we do think he’s probably England’s sixth best batsman.

People don’t like picking the sixth best batsman. They have it in their heads that there must be someone better out there to take the sixth batting slot. Maybe there is, but perhaps that person could make a better fist of highlighting their quality and make life easier for all of us.


Ravi’s at a good age for Test cricket now. He’s had his share of ups and downs and he knows a spangly Test career doesn’t come easily. That’s healthy. That’s the point at which Jonathan Trott arrived in Test cricket. That’s the point at which Matt Prior and Ian Bell started looking the part.

This is why we’re completely irritated that Ravi’s got himself injured. His winter was a complete pain in the arse, sitting and watching Eoin Morgan spazz around for a month before sitting and watching Samit Patel do little better. He was due a turn. He was due a few innings to make a case for himself. He’s only had two Test innings since the juvenile Ravi died in the 2009 Ashes and he was not out in the last of those.

But he’ll have to wait again

Jonny Bairstow’s been promoted to the Test team in Ravi’s place and we worry he too will slip into the no-man’s land just outside the Test side in years to come. He’s young enough that if he fails, he could find himself dragging ‘evidence’ of his shortcomings around for years to come, smiting county attacks all the while.

Hopefully it won’t come to that. Hopefully Bairstow will make 500 on his debut in an innings that will later be considered disappointing in light of his subsequent achievements. However, that would sentence Bopara to another spell of driftage and that would get on our nerves.


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  1. Have you considered that Bairstow might not bat at all in the 3 or 4 innings that England get in this series? And if he does, he comes in at 700/4 or something and the captain’s basically sent him with the instruction to run out Alastair Cook – batting on 254* – to prevent the world from self-destructing? Whereupon the captain declares the innings with Bairstow on a chippy 4*.

    Something like that happened to Bopara last summer. Mind, Windies arent the pathetic bowling unit that were India and Sri Lanka but do you see any flaw in the above narrative?

    1. It can happen, but we’d say you’re right about the Windies having a better bowling attack than last year’s tourists. We can see their batting struggling, but England’s batsmen might not enjoy themselves too much in this series.

  2. This comes with the territory when you’ve got a settled side. Good players will miss out. We went through a long period in which everyone and his dog could get a game for England – it’s no longer the case. Surely this is a good thing.

    1. It is. We’re just worried that we’re going to miss out on having an effective Ravi Bopara over the next few years because he never got that initial run. England aren’t really blessed when it comes to batsmen and you need to invest in the right ones.

    2. Everyone seems to forget that Ravi got got a non-happened-very-often-before and Boycott-never-did-it three test centuries on the trot (one of which I shivered through last time the windies were here). He did get a decent run, just the second half of it was a bit poor.
      We also talk about England’s cricketing past as if it was in a state of permenant revolution, 30 players used every series etc. etc., but often it was the opposite. Gooch and Gatting went seemingly (maybe even literally) years at a time without scoring a test ton.

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