Bopara backing duo
Ravi Bopara says Michael Vaughan and Steve Harmison could still fight their way back into the Ashes.
Last Updated: 23/06/09 8:40am
Ravi Bopara says both Michael Vaughan and Steve Harmison could fight their way into the Ashes clash with Australia despite missing out on selection from the initial squad.
Both the 2005 Ashes heroes were omitted from England's 16-man pre-Ashes training squad when it was announced on Monday, leaving them struggling to be involved this summer.
Vaughan has not even made the England Lions squad to face Australia, with Ian Bell looking like the main batting cover, while Bopara has usurped both men for the number three spot in the full England line-up.
Harmison, meanwhile, is even behind Durham team-mate Graham Onions, alongside James Anderson, Ryan Sidebottom and Stuart Broad in the pecking order, but Bopara says both men could easily make a late surge to be involved in the Ashes.
"Michael's a good friend of mine and it's not good to see your friends not in the squad but he's a fine player and I'm sure if he was given the opportunity tomorrow he would go out and do well," said Bopara.
"And Steve is a fine bowler. We've seen his recent form has been really, really good. He is somebody who can bowl about 90mph and he gets that awkward bounce that no other bowler gets. If he fires and he does well in the warm-up games you never know, we could see him in the squad."
24-year-old Bopara now seems an integral part of Andrew Strauss' side after his blistering form of late, and he is almost nailed-on for a starting place for the first Test in Cardiff on July 8.
"Obviously it's nice to be involved in the squad, it's a big series coming up for us and hopefully I can go out and do the business," Bopara added.
"The Australians are always going to be strong, I don't think you can ever say that they are weak. They are a tough side, they've always been a tough side, and yes it's going to be a real competition for us. Then again we are a tough side as well, the way we are playing our Test cricket, especially on our home turf.
"I haven't set myself goals. I don't really set myself long-term or short-term goals. I go out and just try to do the best thing I can do on the day.
"I prepare myself the best way I can and give myself the best opportunity to go out and do well and if it's my day, it's my day."
Bopara, who was part of the England side that bowed out of the recent World Twenty20 on home turf at the Super Eights stage, has also warned fans not to take the team's failure to make the final four as an indicator of their five-day form.
"I don't think we did as well as we would have thought, as well as we wanted to do," he said.
"We thought at least we would get to the semi-finals, especially playing on our home turf and with the way we had been playing cricket
"But Twenty20, it's a lottery sometimes. We've seen the upsets that Twenty20 can cause, you would never see them in Test cricket. The longer the game, the more chance the better team has to dominate the game."