Bopara treads Pietersen's path
Ravi Bopara will join England team-mate Kevin Pietersen at South African club KwaZulu-Natal Dolphins this winter.
Bopara, who was overlooked for the Ashes squad, will play two first-class matches as well as in South Africa's domestic limited-overs series, which runs from October 29 to December 10.
The 25-year-old will aim to use the matches to find form and win a place in the England squad for the seven-match one-day series against Australia which follows the Ashes Tests.
“We gave him the opportunity to play in South Africa, and he was happy to do that, as opposed to just going with the Performance squad,” said England national selector Geoff Miller.
“We talked it through with his coach (Paul Grayson at Essex) as well. South Africa to Australia is not a million miles away, so it's an opportunity for him to get good middle practice and some good runs on the board.”
The KwaZulu-Natal chief executive Jesse Chellan said: “We were looking for an experienced player who could add value.
“Ravi was keen to play in South Africa and we knew he would want to prepare well ahead of the limited-overs leg of England's tour to Australia.”
South Africa-born Pietersen signed a short-term deal with the Dolphins, his home club, earlier this month to help his preparations ahead of the Ashes. He is due to play two first-class games in the first half of October.