The Ashes 2009 August 10, 2009

Adams calls for Ramprakash reselection

Cricinfo staff

As England prepare for their must-win fifth and final Ashes Test, the clamour to recall Mark Ramprakash to strengthen a failing middle-order has increased, with Geoff Miller, the national selector, refusing to rule him out of contention, while Surrey's manager Chris Adams has described him as "the best batsman available for England".

Ramprakash, 39, has played 52 Tests for England, the last of which was in 2002. Since then, he has been in consistently sublime form for Surrey, culminating in becoming the 25th player to score 100 first-class centuries. Still fit and showing no signs of slowing down, even in his 22nd year as a cricketer, Ramprakash has again passed 1000 runs for the season and is averaging 100.75, albeit in the second division of the Championship.

"I'm not ruling anybody out," Miller told BBC Radio 5 live. "What we have to do as selectors is measure the quality of what they are doing in domestic cricket and whether they can do it internationally. There's a lot more pressure in Test cricket, it's a different game altogether.

"The players we have in the side are good enough to be international players. It doesn't necessarily mean, all of a sudden, that they are not good enough. We stay loyal with the players unless we feel it's completely necessary to make those changes.

"We will sit down and work out the best way forward."

England's middle order, however, is testing the selectors' loyalty. Contributing a paltry 16 runs for six dismissals in 17 overs at Headingley, the call for change is now deafening. Ravi Bopara made an impressive start to his career, with three hundreds in consecutive matches against West Indies earlier this year, but against Australia he has been found wanting, with 105 runs at 15.00. England's lower-order fared better; Graeme Swann managed 168 at 33.60, while Stuart Broad cracked 168 with two fifties.

Meanwhile, Ramprakash continued to make a compelling case for his reselection after hitting another hundred this week - an unbeaten 134 against Derbyshire, his 108th first-class ton. It follows his 274, made at The Oval against Leicestershire last week.

"If I was an England selector picking my best side, he'd be in it," said Surrey's cricket manager, Chris Adams. "He is playing the best cricket of his life. He has done so for three years. I believe strongly he has been the best batsman available for England for those three years.

"I know Kevin Pietersen would have something to say about that but from what I've seen from Mark this year he is an exceptional batsman, a batsman at the top of his game." Adams' comments echo those of Alec Stewart who today said Ramprakash was "the best player in the country by a mile".

Another name that will doubtless be mentioned is Marcus Trescothick, who became the first man to reach 1000 runs in the Championship this season, and has made 1330 runs at 78.30. He, however, has poured water on his possible reselection, and while his county captain, Justin Langer, believed he would be the ideal pick, he was doubtful whether it could possibly happen.

"It would be a massive call [to select Trescothick]," Langer told Cricinfo, "but he is a great player and you can't believe how well he's batting at the moment. I would not be surprised at all if he got a call asking whether he would play [at The Oval], but that would open up a big can of worms.

"Would it just be a one-off?" he asked. "Would he just play Tests that weren't overseas? Then you might get a situation where other players ask to not go on overseas tours. You've also got to think about the message you're sending to the younger players out there. Tres and Ramps are sensational players, though. I can't talk highly enough of them."

Jonathan Trott, who was in the squad for Headingley, has made 877 runs at 97.44, including three hundreds, but it seems unlikely England will opt for a Test debutant for a must-win encounter.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vhreddy on August 13, 2009, 18:44 GMT

    after a gap of 7 years,Ramprakash re called to join the England team in crucial time to play against Aussies,we hope he plays well in the must win match,now he is nearly 40 years ,let us see how he performs in the up coming test .

  • Srin on August 13, 2009, 13:17 GMT

    England should bring in conscription - call of duty in the case of Trescothick. They should force him to front up and take his place to do battle for England. This is a golden chance for England to shame Ponting, don't miss it.

  • David on August 11, 2009, 16:09 GMT

    In the 1st 3 tests, England were not bowled out for less than 376. This against a decent bowling attack (who dismantled SA in the winter), and on sporting pitches that twice saw the Aussies scuttled for the less than 300. As Geoff Miller implies, you don't suddenly sack half a team after one bad match -the old way of picking inferior players on a whim, who then do even worse (shades of 1988 & 89). Bopara needs a rocket and to be told to work on his defensive technique. Ian Bell is a class player, still averages 40 in tests, against Ramps' 27. He scored 53 in the previous test. Collingwood saved the Cardiff test, without which the Ashes would already be gone. I have a feeling one "cosmetic" batting change will be made to please the media and masses, and either Bell or Bopara will go. If that is really necessary, the best of the limited alternatives is Key. He has the bottle. But he is never going to score a 100. It is a real shame about Tres - I would have shooed him in.

  • Terry on August 11, 2009, 12:28 GMT

    To all those who support the call for Mark Ramprakash to the XI for the 5th Test, I salute you. 7 years is a long time in cricket, & his record throughtout is outstanding, currently in the 2nd Div or not. So he didn't have a good run in his last dig in the English Team, so what?? Bell only failed against the WI 5-6 months back & he's already back in the side. I've also said it before, Bopara is NOT of test quality, never has been, never will be. 3 hundreds against the WI's mean nothing. We all remember Chris Gayle's take on that series by arriving 2 days before & then not worrying if Test's lost their primacy. Bopara has to go if England want to win. 105 runs in 7 at 15 @ NUMBER 3-not good enough. Vaughan would have scored more than that, plus he has a mental toughness few could match. If you go on current form, Ramprakash HAS to play, he knows its not longterm & wouldnt expect to remain, but he deserves the chance based on form. In his last test, he scored 133 v AUS! BRING BACK RAMPS!

  • Thomas on August 11, 2009, 11:25 GMT

    In the last 4 seasons, Ramps has hit 6,681 runs @ 91.52, with 29 centuries! Apart from this year, those runs have been made in div1 of the championship - better than anyone else in the country. Come on selectors, give the old lad a chance.

  • Subhash on August 11, 2009, 10:05 GMT

    Isn't it always the same !! The present line up doesn't quite measure up, so there are calls to bring back the "oldies". Ramps suffered from it in his early days - never given the extended run he deserved when he first broke on the scene but now there are calls for his return at 39. He wouldn't let the team down but surely it would not be the right decision for the future of English Cricket.

  • Jason on August 11, 2009, 7:49 GMT

    Ramps and Tresco have played well precisely because they know they have no pressure to perform for England selection so can just enjoy themselves. Key is not the answer, his form has been patchy at best.

    Trott and Shah for me must come in.

  • Walter on August 11, 2009, 6:37 GMT

    If Vaughan can get bowled by a 3 year old im not sure hes the man for the job. After reading all the replies it seems quite sad that all these names that are being called for have never(except for the odd exception) been selected even though they are so called run machines. If you look at the top tier countries they have huge reserve stock which all are good enough to make it on test level. Also the frailty of the English lineup is nothing new so why not give other blokes a chance? It is indeed harder to get out of the english team than it is to get in it.

  • Faraz on August 10, 2009, 22:48 GMT

    Bring back MICHEAL VAUGHAN...He's a class act.. He should have been picked first up in the series, poor lad

  • Paul on August 10, 2009, 21:26 GMT

    I feel that the England selectors should pluck up the courage to drop the 'famous' players and go for the reliable and sensible choice it's all a matter of pride and the way that they have marketed the ashes. To drop the most hyped up playes would be a blow but weigh that up against actually having a chance of winning the Ashes. I know what one i would pick.

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