Gooch feels Essex star is on cusp on Test return
Last Updated: 11/07/12 12:19pm
Bopara (l) has long worked with Gooch
England batting coach Graham Gooch feels his long-term pupil Ravi Bopara is back in the reckoning for a Test spot.
Essex batsman Bopara, who has long been mentored by the former England opener, has impressed during the one-day series against Australia.
He missed out on the Test matches against West Indies earlier this summer after picking up an injury and Jonny Bairstow was subsequently picked instead.
However, Gooch feels Bopara will be very much in the selectors' minds when they pick the squad to play South Africa in next week's first Test.
"I don't select the side, but I think it's fair to say that Ravi was in the selectors' thoughts before he got injured," said Gooch.
"I'm sure he will be back in the thoughts - as will Jonny Bairstow and James Taylor and Eoin Morgan - so they will make their decision who they think is the best guy for that spot.
"Bopara's been playing cricket, so I don't think he's done his chances any harm."
The hope among many is that, at 27, Bopara is about to realise the potential which has been evident for so long yet has faltered at times in a career of 77 one-day internationals, 12 Tests and 20 Twenty20s to date.
"He's been around the England team since 2006-7," Gooch added.
"The lad's a talented performer; he's had a lot of chances, been in and out, done well at times and struggled at times.
"I think he's finding himself now, he's maturing with age.
"He's not old - the prime for a batsman is 25 to 35; he's 27.
"He's got great talent. We all know that he's got great balance he's got great options as a batsman.
"I think he's understanding now how he can make the best out of those options, so therefore that translates into performances."