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The 26-year-old will be available for Essex’s fixtures until mid-May

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Essex coach Paul Grayson has backed Ravi Bopara to fit straight back into the side after returning from international duty.

The ECB have announced that the 26-year-old has been made available for all of the county’s fixtures until the First Test against the West Indies on May 17 and his county coach is hopeful that he will lose him to his country.

Bopara did not play for his country in Test matches over the winter tours of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, with Eoin Morgan and Samit Patel preferred instead but did play in the one day and Twenty20 side.

“Ravi has not played an awful lot of cricket this winter and he’ll come back and fit straight back into the side,” Grayson said.

“Hopefully he will score loads of runs for Essex and regain his place back into the England side again.”

Essex team-mate and England star Alastair Cook will be available for the county between May 2 and May 13.

The 27-year-old, who was named as one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the year on Wednesday, could feature in the County Championship games against Glamorgan (May 2-5) and Kent (May 9-12) as well as the Pro40 matches against Leicestershire (May 7) and Worcestershire (May 13).

The Chelmsford based outfit won their first match of the season, beating Gloucestershire by an innings and 38 runs, with Billy Godleman scoring a century and Graham Napier picking up five second innings wickets.

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