London:Ravi Bopara is determined to prove his maiden Test hundred in Barbados this year was no fluke after being picked at No 3 for England's series opener against the West Indies here at Lord's.
The 23-year-old Essex all-rounder was a bold choice to fill the tricky first-wicket down position in England's batting order ahead of more experienced candidates Owais Shah, Ian Bell and former captain Michael Vaughan.
An injury to Andrew Flintoff gave Bopara his chance in the Caribbean and with his fellow all-rounder sidelined once again, he is looking forward to a longer run in the team this time around.
Despite making 104 in Bridgetown, Barbados, in February in the fourth Test, the batting all-rounder was dropped in favour of an extra bowler in the next match as England, ultimately beaten 1-0 in the campaign, went in search of a win which would have levelled the series.
But having been picked for the opening Test - England's first since his former Essex team-mate Andy Flower was named as their permanent head coach - of a home season which also features an Ashes contest against Australia, Bopara is keen to prove his worth once more.
"It is nice to know my opportunity is here again. I took my opportunity in the West Indies and if I get runs at number three there is a chance for me to bat at number three in the Ashes as well, which is a great opportunity for me," said Bopara.
"That is what I have dreamed about since I was a young boy.
"It was a bit of a surprise to hear that Ian Bell, Owais Shah and Michael Vaughan weren't in the squad.
"I thought with Fred (Flintoff) being injured one of them might have got a call-up but I am happy. The guys have backed me and said 'you are the man to do it' and I want to prove them right.
"I did understand being dropped in the West Indies. I knew one of the batters would be left out because we needed to win the Test and had to play an extra bowler.
"I had a feeling it would be me. Even coming off the back of a hundred I realised Owais deserved a run in the side. It was disappointing but also understandable."
Bopara has recently returned from a stint in the Indian Premier League, as have the men immediately behind him in England's batting order, Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood.
Although IPL matches are Twenty20 contests, Bopara said the lessons he had learned from playing alongside some of the world's leading cricketers during his time in South Africa would be applicable when the first match of a two-Test series against the West Indies starts on Wednesday.
"I spoke a lot to Kumar Sangakkara and Yuvraj Singh," he recalled.
"The Sri Lankans never panic and Yuvraj spoke to me a lot about death hitting. Hopefully I can put that into practice.
"I know England's number three, four and five will only have played Twenty20 cricket but that doesn't matter," added Bopara, who has appeared in four Tests.
"It is about scoring runs - not how but how many."