It was a confusing day in
which England Lions seamer Boyd Rankin opened the bowling for Ireland against an England
side captained by Dublin's
own Eoin Morgan. Oh, and Ed Joyce, who has 17 pyjama cricket caps for England, was back wearing green.
In a one-off one-day
international which felt more like a Morgan benefit match at times, a host of
prodigious talents were given their heads in an England side which could best be described as a 'development XI'.
But it said something that
the only two England
batsmen who could hold their heads high while scoffing the widely-acclaimed
Steak 'n Guinness pies at the lunch interval were Jonathan Trott and Morgan
A sequence of 'Now, what can
he do with this opportunity...?' lines were rolled out as Ireland continued to confound the much-hyped
group of England
batsmen with good, honest line-and-length bowling.
But it was the failure of
Ravi Bopara which was perhaps the most galling, frustrating wicket to see fall from an England perspective
as the Essex batsman spurned yet another glorious chance to remind everyone of his
Any number of excuses were
offered to pardon Bopara's inability to make an impact in the series against India - in which every other England batsman
(and even tail-ender) flourished - and this was yet another missed opportunity.
The abundantly talented and
gifted batsman never ceases to frustrate, and his bizarre, rash thrust of the
bat which led to his soft dismissal was particularly infuriating.
England are very big on 'investing in
talent' which is an admirable approach, but it can breed stubbornness if the
players in question do not live up to their potential.
Cowers spent hours
poring over Ravi's stats during the numerous rain delays at Clontarf, and they
did not make for happy consumption following his bright start against a hapless
West Indies attack early in the summer of 2009.
Bopara's record in all three forms of international cricket are as follows:
Tests: 9 innings - 156 runs - 19.50 average
ODIs: 21 innings - 493 runs - 27.38 average
T20s: 10 innings - 197 runs - 19.70 average
In all forms of
international cricket in England,
Bopara has averaged 24.55 from 30 innings, and away from home just 10.00 from
It presents a very
tricky conundrum for England,
whose recent success has been based around consistency of selection and general continuity, in stark
contrast to the 'one-match wonders' under Raymond Illingworth's stewardship in
the early 90s.
But surely this is
different: Bopara has been given his fair share of opportunities to flourish on the
international stage, and was expected to deliver as a relatively senior member
of the side picked to face Ireland.
How long will England persist with the Essex shot-maker? It looks as though he will be given another run of games in the ODI series with India, and he simply has to make some impression.
Bopara should really be dropped from the reckoning, if Cowers is to get all Bob Willis on the situation, but he may be spared one final chance given that the likes of James Taylor and Ben Stokes also failed to capitalise at Clontarf.
But how long much longer can he rely upon contrived maxims of patience and potential being the factors behind his selection.
POINT OF THE DAY: Should
England persevere with Bopara, or would you like to see other players given a
run in the set up at the expense of the underachieving Essex
batsman? Post your views below...
TWEET OF THE DAY: Shania
Twain's 'That Don't Impress Me Much' resonates around the ground as Morgan hits
a boundary. #BitterIrishDJ (@Altcricket)
STAT OF THE DAY: Trott
was dismissed for 69 off 105 balls. Discuss...
USER COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Three
more drinks to the hour. That's what you call an Irish powerplay!" (Tone clearly enjoys a very fine day of
frivolities at Clontarf.)
ABSURDITY OF THE DAY: The ECB rather
snobbily stipulated that they would not be wavering from their scheduled flight
home at 20:00 from Dublin,
and refused to make any allowances for the weather. Surely, if an international
fixture is to be arranged, both sides must take it seriously and not rush home
for their tea time? Well, everyone will be relieved to know that they did make their flight in the end.