Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Ramprakash's time is up: Broad

Mark Ramprakash could be in line for a recall

Chris Broad has urged caution on the part of England's selectors and believes a recall for Mark Ramprakash would be the wrong option for them to take for the final Ashes Test.

There have been calls for wholesale changes to the England team after they were humiliated by Australia in an innings defeat at Headingley to leave the series all-square at 1-1.

Various suggestions have been made about potential adjustments to the batting order for next week's decider at the Oval — including the removal of Ravi Bopara and Ian Bell, with the likes of Surrey veteran Ramprakash or Kent captain Robert Key installed in their place.

But former England batsman Broad thinks Bopara and Bell still merit their places in the side, and that some minor adjustment is all that is required.

“Maybe tinker with it a bit — maybe drop Bopara down to number five and either play Bell or Collingwood at three,” Broad said.

“But let's just see if we can win — because before the Headingley Test match, everyone was talking about us winning the Ashes at Headingley. We clearly can't be a bad team after just one week.

“I think both Bell and Bopara have suffered a little bit confidence-wise — although having said that, Bell got 50 at Edgbaston in the previous Test match.

“Bopara has found the pressure of playing in this Ashes series a little bit too much at number three, but that doesn't mean to say he's a bad player. He's got to be given the opportunity to show what a good player he is.

“He scored three hundreds against the West Indies just recently, so I would just drop him down to number five and give him another opportunity to answer all his critics.”

Broad is firmly against the idea of bringing Ramprakash back into the fray on his home ground, but admits Key is an option.

“For me, Ramprakash has had his opportunity,” said Broad.

“He's almost 40 — I know he knows the pitch, he is in good form. But that's good form in county cricket, and I don't think he'll be able to step up to the mark again at international level.

“There is a case for Robert Key to come in and play, and that will be an interesting one for the selectors to make. But for me, I would stick with the same three batsmen — just change the order around a little bit and give them the opportunity to put right the wrongs that were done last week.”

Ramprakash declared he is ready willing and able to answer the call should it come.

“I've been strongly linked with England, so I've been there before — but I always hoped my performances on the field will do my talking. I've not spoken to (national selector) Geoff Miller but I'm available.

“It's a wonderful showpiece occasion we've got on our hands, for it all to come down to this game now ... I think any player would accept that challenge and cherish and savour being in that match, for the rest of your career.”

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