Thereâ€™s an interesting claim by Mike Selvey in this morningâ€™s Guardian: apparently Mark Ramprakash is on the verge of an England recall.
There is a strong rumour doing the rounds that when the England squad to contest the Test series against Sri Lanka is announced tomorrow week, the name of Andrew Strauss will be missing and in its place will be that of Mark Ramprakash. It would, were it to happen, be another stunner in a sporting autumn that already has had more turn-ups than a Savile Row clearance sale.
Only last month, with a strict brief to ensure that selections should anticipate playing a full part in England cricket over the next year, Strauss, already jettisoned from the one-day plans, was awarded a central contract by the chairman of selectors, David Graveney, and the England coach, Peter Moores. Given that in the past year three contracted players in particular – Marcus Trescothick, Ashley Giles and Simon Jones – played little or no cricket for England while receiving sizeable salaries, there would be no shortage of flak heading their way if such an exercise in generosity were to be repeated.
Itâ€™s a fascinating suggestion, although personally I donâ€™t think the England selectors will pick him. Itâ€™s just not worth their while. If he succeeds, thereâ€™ll be the inevitable question of why he wasnâ€™t picked earlier (his excellent Ashes record should have been a factor last year). And the very first time he fails, the critics will come creeping out of the woodwork, accusing England of â€˜taking a backwards stepâ€™ and â€˜holding backâ€™ some promising young batsman or other. And though Ramprakash himself seems less mentally fragile than before, a low score in his first knock might see all those bad memories come flooding back.
If he is picked, it would at least provide us with a definitive verdict on county cricket. If the most prolific county cricketer of his generation couldnâ€™t translate that form into Test success, it might be time to start asking the ECB some probing questions.