Bopara calls off return to action
Ravi Bopara has had second thoughts about his return to action, and will not after all be available for England Lions against Australia A this week.
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Bopara has therefore pulled out at the 11th hour twice in the last 10 days, for as yet unspecified "personal reasons", from England teams.
In fact, the 27-year-old batsman's withdrawal from Lions contention at Old Trafford has come even later than his defection from the Headingley Test - because the four-day match was due to get under way this morning, before rain arrived in Manchester.
Bopara, added to the squad as a replacement for initial selection James Taylor, explained he still feels unable to give cricket his full attention.
"I thought I was ready to return to action - but after some consideration, I just feel it's too early," he said.
"So I won't be playing quite yet".
Bopara was widely expected to bat at number six for England against South Africa in Leeds but pulled out hours before the selectors announced their squad last weekend.
Debutant Taylor took his place for a match which resulted in a draw.
With doubts surrounding the participation of unsettled batsman Kevin Pietersen in next week's final Investec Test at Lord's, there would have been much for Bopara to play for.
But he will not yet get that opportunity, or the outside chance of a Test recall just yet. Australia A's team contains several players expected to be in England again next summer for the Champions Trophy and Ashes - two campaigns in which Essex batsman Bopara too will still be hoping to be involved.