Bopara, Foster are victims of England selectors” bias: Essex coach

September 30th, 2008 - 1:13 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Sept.30 (ANI): Essex coach Paul Grayson has accused the England selectors of inconsistency and bias over their controversial decision to take Owais Shah on the Test tour of India and leave Ravi Bopara behind. Bopara and his Essex wicketkeeper teammate James Foster have been left out of England’’s India tour party
Shah was the big winner in a Test party that also saw Graeme Swann named as the second spinner, while former Sussex teammates Matt Prior and Tim Ambrose were both given a chance to fight it out for the wicketkeeping spot.
But Grayson questioned how Bopara who was among the four candidates for last night’’s PCA Player of the Season award had come to be demoted down the pecking order after acting as England’’s 12th man during the final Test of the summer against South Africa. He could hardly be accused of losing form, as his final three championship games of the summer produced 280 runs at an average of 70.
“They left Ravi out at the Oval to play the extra bowler and now he’’s not going to India,” Grayson said.
“So either he has made the drinks wrong or he has upset somebody. When he came back to us, he played brilliantly. If Ravi was Indian-born I think he would have been playing Test cricket for two or three years by now.” Grayson also expressed disappointment over wicketkeeper James Foster being ignored once again ignored, despite piling up 925 first-class runs this season at an average of 46.
The selectors have repeatedly told Foster to go away and score more runs, but there is little doubt that he is the best natural gloveman in the country. Or, some might say, the world.
“I know we play our championship cricket in division two, and some people make a lot of that,” said Grayson, “but we have had a good one-day season and we feel that we have done quite a lot right this year. Now, two of our main men, Ravi and Fossie, have been overlooked, so you do take it a bit personally sometimes. As their coach I feel for these two guys because I just think they should be playing at Test level.”
The only other man who might have felt hard done by was Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid. Statistically, Rashid has been the leading slow bowler in county cricket by a huge margin, collecting 65 first-class wickets to Swann’’s 32. But for all his undoubted promise, a Test tour of India would be the most difficult baptism imaginable.
At 20, Rashid is still learning the art of wrist-spin perhaps the most difficult of all cricket’’s disciplines to master. It is vital to time his promotion right, as he has the makings of an England regular for years to come.
He was named in the “Performance Squad” of young thrusters, who will play two first-class matches in India under the captaincy of Rob Key.
Meanwhile, national selector Geoff Miller has said that former captain Michael Vaughan could yet make an appearance in India, though he has requested a three-month lay off from international cricket. “It is a possibility that [Vaughan] could link up with the Performance Squad,” Miller told Sky Sports News.
“We see him as an integral part of our plans. There’’s lots of cricket coming up. He’’s played for England for 10 years and deserves a bit of a break. Going abroad might put his mind right. We will organise where he goes so he can try and get back in the side. We know what he is capable of,” Miller added. (ANI)

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