Mark Ramprakash to appear on Strictly Come Dancing

Oh dear God. As if 17,000 runs in a season isn’t enough to persuade David Graveney to select him (and it isn’t) it was confirmed today that Mark Ramprakash is to appear in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing. Didn’t he learn from Darren Gough?

Maybe Bruce Forsyth is a mole for the England selectors; perhaps they have Ramprakash on standby but are unconvinced by his feet movement…

Update: interview with Ramps at Cricinfo.

Flintoff’s looking mean

Utterly exhausted, and am unable to offer anything remotely intelligible at this hour of useless o’clock. However, I can tell you one thing: Andrew Flintoff is looking in mean health. David Graveney said Australia fear him and, seeing him at The Oval today, it’s hard to disagree.

I’m going to stop writing now as I’m reaching previously unknown heights of banality. Thoughts on today’s squad announcements? Leave ‘em below.

Graham Thorpe misses out to Kevin Pietersen

“Selection of Kevin Pietersen gives us a better chance [of beating Australia,” says David Graveney. That’ll be the end of a marvellous career of one of my favourite batsmen, Graham Thorpe.

England’s squad for 1st npower Ashes Test

1. Michael Vaughan (Yorkshire) (captain)
2. Ian Bell (Warwickshire)
3. Andrew Flintoff (Lancashire)
4. Ashley Giles (Warwickshire)
5. Stephen Harmison (Durham)
6. Matthew Hoggard (Yorkshire)
7. Geraint Jones (Kent)
8. Simon Jones (Glamorgan)
9. Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire)
10. Andrew Strauss (Middlesex)
11. Chris Tremlett (Hampshire)
12. Marcus Trescothick (Somerset)

D-day (or “A-Day!”) tomorrow for Pietersen

Tomorrow, the ECB will announce a selection of England’s finest players to take on the Australians in one of the oldest sporting contests in the world, The Ashes. It is D-Day – or should that be “A-Day!” (Ashes-Day for those unfamiliar with my sense of humour…)

Ah, The Ashes. Those two short words conjure so much for so many. But tomorrow, either one of Graham Thorpe or Kevin Pietersen will not wish to hear them uttered again. The squad can only include one of them – will it be the young talent, or the old war horse? Just before posting this, I was dead-set on backing Kevin Pietersen…but I’m still not sure. England’s batting capitulation in the NatWest Challenge matches could tempt Graveney into going back to Thorpe – with the emphasis on “back,” for it would certainly be a backward decision. And this is my, and the rest of England’s dilemma; Thorpe could provide reliable, stodgy runs and a hundred or two. But we all know he’s retiring come September. Pietersen, on the other hand, has the ability to hit a hundred in a session and, whilst he’s still young, he has the aggression and talent to succeed.

The announcement is due tomorrow morning at 11.30 – I’ll post more then, or soon after.