Some people love him, some people hate him, either way Ravi Bopara has been recalled to the England squad for the one-day series against New Zealand and the ICC Champions Trophy which begins next month.
Bopara hasn’t featured for England since the first of October last year, where he picked up a solitary run in the World T20 Super Eight defeat to Sri-Lanka, and he hasn’t appeared in an international one-day match since September.
He was named in the Lions squad to face New Zealand last week, but his inclusion will still come as a surprise to many who remember his struggles against South Africa last August, where Bopara could muster no more than 16 with the bat.
England fans will hope the all-rounder can recapture the form he showed earlier in the 2012 summer during the ODI tour against Australia, where the Essex man produced fine knocks of 82, 33 not out and 52 not out.
His bowling form has been solid however, and this could be what has given the seamer the edge over Samit Patel, ahead of the tournament in England and Wales this summer.
Graeme Swann makes a welcome return to the squad after recuperating from his elbow injury, as does Tim Bresnan, who shares a pace attack with Stuart Broad, Steven Finn and James Anderson.
Kevin Pietersen misses out with a knee injury, but England still boast plenty of firepower at the top of the order with Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Eoin Morgan and Joe Root all included in the 15-man squad.
England are second favourites at 9/2 to win the ICC Champions Trophy, and they feature in Group A alongside Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand.
England will have reason to be confident having seen off the latter two sides in ODI series in the past 12 months.
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