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Ravi Bopara could be handed an opportunity to restate his international credentials on Tuesday, when England begin their World Twenty20 preparations with a warm-up match against Bangladesh at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown.

Bopara has not featured in the England squad since being dropped ahead of the fifth and final Ashes Test against Australia at The Oval last August, but with Kevin Pietersen spending time with his pregnant wife, Jessica, prior to the start of the tournament next week, a temporary vacancy has arisen at No. 3, and Bopara is determined to fill it.

"It was fantastic getting the news that I'm coming out here," Bopara told reporters in Barbados. "I'm really delighted. It's time for me to make that step again and make myself a regular and really make a difference in this competition. We've got a busy schedule this summer, and I'd love to be part of that. This is a great opportunity for me to make my mark and go on and play this summer."

Since his England omission, Bopara has been working on his game with stints with Auckland and the IPL franchise, Kings XI Punjab, and admitted that the time away from international cricket might have been a "blessing in disguise". Without the spotlight trained on his performances, he has pieced together his game, and feels he's ready for a comeback.

"Naturally, I lost a little bit of confidence from not scoring runs in the Ashes," he said. "I always expect a lot of myself and maybe I ended up putting a little bit of pressure on myself; maybe that was the big mistake I made at the time. But I've learned from that experience and come back stronger and a better cricketer - and I hope I can show it in this World Cup."

Bopara couldn't wish for a more auspicious venue at which to play his first game back in England colours, because it was on the same ground last March that he made his first Test hundred against West Indies. "There are good memories for me here," he said. "I know this is not Test cricket, but I hope I can do something which is the Twenty20 equivalent of that hundred I scored here."

As for Pietersen's situation, England's captain, Paul Collingwood, confirmed that - having helped Bangalore reach the semi-finals of the IPL last week - he had been given a few extra days to spend at home before the team play their first match of the tournament, against West Indies on Monday.

"Kevin's going to arrive in a couple of days," said Collingwood. "Obviously Jess is pregnant, so it gives him an opportunity to get home for a couple of days. But that will not be a problem. He's obviously 'cricket-fit', and I think one of the major things is that the guys who've been out in the IPL have certainly got their brains switched on towards Twenty20 cricket - which obviously helps."

Pietersen could well miss the culmination of England's campaign, however, seeing as the due date is scheduled for the middle of May, and he has frequently stated his desire to be present at the birth. "At the back-end of the tournament, it could be we may miss him - if Jess delivers or shows signs of delivering," said Collingwood. "But that is down the line. We're solely concentrating on the first couple of games to get through to the next stage."

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