There are several strong contenders for this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award. However, it is Ravi Bopara who emerges as the winner thanks to his all-round exploits for England in the final One-Day International against Australia.
The 27 year-old from London took two for eight from his four overs of brisk medium-pace to help restrict the visitors to 145 for seven from their 32 overs, before anchoring England’s run chase with an undefeated 56-ball 52.
It meant that he finished what was a successful series for both him and England on a positive note, and his consistent form throughout the four matches led to him being recalled to England’s Test side for the first Test against South Africa.
He had originally been the favourite to occupy England’s troublesome number six spot during the series against West Indies, but he picked up an untimely injury while playing for Essex so that honour went to Jonny Bairstow. Bairstow struggled against the shorter ball so Bopara was recalled for what must surely be his final chance to establish himself as a Test batsman.
Other contenders for this week’s award included Pakistani batsmen Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq who both made centuries during the drawn third Test against Sri Lanka; their fellow countryman Junaid Khan who returned figures of five for 70 in the home side’s first innings; Ross Taylor, who hit 110 during the fourth ODI against West Indies; and two of the home side’s bowlers from that match, Sunil Narine and Tino Best, who took for two for 20 and four for 46 respectively.
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