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Should England bring back Ramprakash for Ashes decider?

August 10, 2009

rampsEngland will be under huge pressure to make changes for the deciding Ashes test at the Oval and the middle order is the obvious place to start, with Ravi Bopara, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood contributing just 16 runs in six innings at Headingley.

So what should England do about it?

Possible replacements include Jonathan Trott, who was called into the squad at Headingley, Robert Key of Kent and even 39-year-old Mark Ramprakash as a one-off experiment.

Captain Andrew Strauss said he would be reluctant to make wholesale changes but Bopara, in particular, looks short of confidence in the crucial number three spot and it might be worth a gamble on Trott or Key in such a crucial game.

And Ramprakash? Is that just an idea for the romantics?

As for Australia, their selectors should be patting themselves on the back.

They recalled seamer Stuart Clark in place of spinner Nathan Hauritz in a horses-for-courses selection which was a stunning success.

The experienced Clark galvanized the rest of the attack with his opening spell on the first day, his accurate probing outswingers claiming three England wickets and tying down one end.

That inspired Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson, who had struggled previously in the series, and each claimed a five-wicket haul in the match. They will head into the deciding test high on confidence and with Brett Lee also likely to be available for selection Australia’s seam bowling resources look healthy indeed.

FILE PHOTO: England’s Mark Ramprakash watches his ball to safety on his way to a century during a game against a Board President’s X1 in Hyderabad, November 22, 2001. At the close of play England were 297 for 9 and Ramprakash was out for 105. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Comments

That is out there, man. A 39-year-old coming to the rescue in the most importnat match England have had in four years? Why not Mike Brearley to captain the side? It’s worked before.

Posted by Kay | Report as abusive
 

England cannot afford to rely on a weak middle order if they are to achieve victory in the last test. Bopara does not think enough about his shots to play at three, bring Ramps or anyone in.

If it ends as a repeat of Headingley then no one can say the current side would have done any better. If anything, some of them might have done worse.

Posted by Gertrude | Report as abusive
 

Surely the basic principle which should always govern selection at international level is “choose the people in form”. Mark R has been our leading batsman for 3 years at least and should have been an original choice. It is very sad that our selectors – and most of the media – are only realising this now.

Posted by John Sykes | Report as abusive
 

I had a brief interview with Mark earlier this year and he spoke about how he was staying fit and still enjoying his cricket greatly. I must admit I didn’t seriously think he had a chance at making a comeback but why not?

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive
 

Marcus Trescothick. The man absolutely loves the Oval. Put him at four. Robert Key at three. That should give us a bit more spine.

Posted by Tom Pilcher | Report as abusive
 

Trescothick would be a great pick, the man most likely to score a hatful, but it’s not going to happen. He’s retired from international cricket and england are not going to unretire him. It was his decision. I hope I’m wrong, but I can’t see it.

Posted by Kay | Report as abusive
 

Fair enough Kay. I can’t see it either but imagine Tresco coming in and gleefully plundering the Aussies! Has Ramps not yet retired from international cricket then? Can’t see the point of picking him. Two years ago when he was averaging almost 100 yes, but his average isn’t as good this season is it? Key and Tresco for me.

Posted by Tom Pilcher | Report as abusive
 

Ramprakash is averaging 100.75 in country cricket at the moment – he’s simply the best batsman in the country. Trescothick just isn’t available, so he can be ruled out. Personally, I’d bring Key in at number 3, Bopara out. Fred in for Harmison. More important though, is England finding belief in themselves again, otherwise it will be another massacre.

Posted by Jambo | Report as abusive
 

In what other (successful) sport do you NOT put your best/most in-form players available out? Ramps is batting like a demon at the moment and that’s what we need. He is too old to bring back full-time but it’s a perfect selection. He knows the ground, he’s bang in touch and he’s got nothing to prove. He can simply shrug his shoulders and say ‘oh well’ if it goes pear-shaped as he’s unlikely to be selected again anyway.

Play the form plyers: Strauss, Cook, Ramps, Key, Prior, Flintoft, Broad, Anderson, Swann, Harmison & Onions. What’s the worst that can happen? We sit there like rabbits in the headlights and get whacked by an innings and a hatful of runs…oh, wait….

Posted by Adam K | Report as abusive
 

Spot on, Adam. Play the form players and treat this as a one-off. England have to remember, they just have to win one test, ONE TEST, to win back the Ashes. And they don’t have to survive against Shane Warne to do it, or Glenn McGrath for that matter.
This is an Australian side that has found a bit of form and team spirit at last, but is otherwise a shadow of the great Australian teams. My line up would be:
Strauss, Trescothick, Cook, Key, Ramprakash, Collingwood, Prior, Flintoff, Swann, Broad, Harmison.
Three openers, a middle order that’s not going to collapse in such abject style and if Flintoff is fit there’s enough bowling, just.

Posted by Jamesy | Report as abusive
 

The point is to get 20 wickets, not rack up 1037-5 declared. That said, England have a desperate shortage of quality bowlers, and the Oval is one of the flattest tracks in test cricket.
Ramps, Tresco, a long word with the chief groundsman as to how to best roll the pitch in our favour (and preferably lead to the entire Aussie attack getting crocked) plus Baldrick from Blackadder (he of the ‘cunning plan’)is what’s needed. I make it eight and a bit days to get cracking.

Posted by Tom Pilcher | Report as abusive
 

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