Ravi Bopara returns for Essex Eagles’ trip to Rotterdam
ESSEX Eagles welcome back Ravi Bopara into their 13-man squad for their Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Netherlands in Rotterdam on Tuesday.
The England all-rounder is making his return after suffering a muscle injury during the match with Kent two weeks ago that forced him out of the England line-up for the start of the Test series with West Indies.
Netherlands and Essex Eagles first met in the competition two years ago when the county side won both matches although the first of those was a close affair.
Playing at Amstelveen, Amsterdam, Essex prevailed by one run after they successfully defended a total of 218 for eight with Matt Walker top-scoring with 71. The return match at Chelmsford was rain affected but on that occasion, Essex won by eight wickets under the Duckworth/Lewis method.
Head coach Paul Grayson is looking for his side to maintain their 100 per cent record against Netherlands.
“We need to get our CB40 campaign up and running but we have two tough games coming up in the next week with Netherlands on Tuesday and then Gloucestershire the following Monday,” he said.
“Both are good sides. I thought we played some good one-day cricket at Lancashire last Sunday, they got off to a good start but we bowled well in the second-half of their innings.
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“When we batted, we lost a couple of wickets to some silly dismissals and just came up short. But there was encouragement to take from that performance and I’m looking for us to build on from that.
“We need to start winning cricket matches, everyone is working hard towards that and hopefully, these next two matches will see us back to winning ways but there are some good teams in our group.
“We know that Netherlands are a good side, they played well against us last time and they have already won a couple of games in the group this year so we need to be right at the top of our game.”
Essex are still seeking their first win in this year’s competition having had one match abandoned as a no-result and two defeats while Netherlands three matches thus far have brought them wins against Gloucestershire Gladiators and Worcestershire Royals, and a defeat by Middlesex Panthers.
Essex squad: J Foster (wkt, capt), M Pettini, A Petersen, R Bopara, O Shah, T Westley, C Willoughby, G Smith, G Napier, T Phillips, M Comber, T Craddock, D Masters, T Mills.