In one-day internationals, he was a different matter. The format should have been perfect for Bopara's powerful stroke-play, but he has never made a spot in the side his own. His most consistent run of scores came against the West Indies in 2009, the same period as he was scoring Test tons. You always got the feeling that Ravi was doing just enough to stay in the selectors' thoughts - the 96 against India showed that it might be the end of the low scoring. So did the two fifties against Pakistan, and the 82 against Australia. And the two unbeaten knocks in the Champions' Trophy this year.
Finally, Ravi Bopara broke into three figures again last Tuesday with his unbeaten, match-sealing, world record 101 not out against Ireland. Yes, it was only Ireland, but in that one innings, Ravi Bopara did everything he has been slated for not doing in the past: he knuckled down and built an innings; he turned a start into a three-figure contribution; he changed gears well when the situation called upon him to do so; he saw out the victory to the bitter end.
28-year-old Ravi Bopara may finally cash in on his huge talent.
Still, it could be time for Ravi's fifth stint in the Test side. He is still only 28, plenty young enough to make a career at the top level, and much younger than Michael Hussey when he made his debut. His push on the selectors' door could not have come at a better time, as both Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes have failed to claim the number six slot, and James Taylor, Bopara's nearest rival, looked awfully at sea against the Irish bowlers. I will wait and see, but would be unsurprised to see Ravinder Singh Bopara line up against the Australians at The 'Gabba.