Gooch urges Bopara to head overseas
Graham Gooch believes Ravi Bopara could play abroad this winter in an attempt to regain his place in the England side.
The Essex batsman paid the price for a string of low scores when he was left out of the Test and one-day squads for the forthcoming tour of South Africa.
Bopara scored three consecutive Test centuries against West Indies earlier in the year but had his technique exposed by Australia before he was dropped for the final Test in favour of Jonathan Trott, who will now tour the country of his birth in Bopara’s place.
Monty Panesar - also omitted from the touring squad - will play for South African franchise Highveld Lions this winter and Essex batting coach Gooch believes Bopara could benefit from doing the same.
“He has to weigh up his options for the off-season," said the former England captain. "Maybe he will go and play somewhere else around the world for a domestic cricket team in another country.
“You have to find a way of putting your name in front of the selectors and certainly to go and score runs in a different part of the world might be a good option.”
Gooch has watched Bopara’s development closely at Chelmsford and helped restore his confidence after a run of three successive ducks in Sri Lanka in 2007 cost him his Test place.
While Gooch expected Bopara to be overlooked for the South Africa trip, which gets under way next month, he believes the 24-year-old will force his way back into the England side.
“His form hasn’t been good enough in the last few months. You have to earn the right to play for England,” Gooch added.
“I have every confidence in the boy’s ability, though - he is a very gifted player. When you represent your country it is your highest honour. You have to perform and there is no hiding place.
“If you don’t perform there are other players waiting in the wings waiting to take your place, so he has to regain his confidence and the form he’s capable of. If he does that then he’ll play himself back into contention.
“I don’t think you want to take too many knock-backs. Every time you get dropped from the side it’s more difficult to get back in. He is a very gifted player, though, and I’m sure he’ll come back at some stage.”