Time to Move On

It's that time of the English autumn when there's nothing much going on in this country (apart from the announcement of the odd touring side) and little enough elsewhere in the cricket world (apart from what seem like endless ODIs on the sub-continent). This being the case, the past week seemed like a good time to let things slide a bit on the blog and see what else life has to offer; last weekend I took myself off to Derby to visit my parents and managed to get out into the Derbyshire Dales, where the weather was gorgeous and the scenery equally beautiful.

A few things got through, though, including the fact that Andrew Strauss had been left out of the England Test team to tour Sri Lanka, but Mark Ramprakash hadn't, as was widely predicted, been recalled.

Strauss had appeared to be living on borrowed time for a bit too long. In fact he's never appeared quite the same since his old mate Marcus left the stage. A batsman trying to operate outside his comfort zone and play too many shots, but also a player ground down by the way in which the world's best bowlers had homed in on and exposed his weaknesses. In the age of trial by DVD it's like that, and, when the England selectors are looking for a way to get a couple of extra batsmen into the team, you're going to be in trouble if you've got no major runs behind you for more than a year.

As an admirer of both Shah and Bopara I'm happy with the decision; Strauss, even at 30, is easily young enough and good enough to come again.

Nobody admires Ramprakash more than me but a recall at 38 for someone with a proven record of total mediocrity in Test cricket? No thanks. He's better now than he ever was, they say. Well, maybe. But he was pretty damn good as a Middlesex player in 1995 and he couldn't score a run for England then, so why should it be any different now? No, Shah or Bopara could score just as many runs in Sri Lanka as Ramprakash might, and it will be far more significant for England's future if they do.

Ramprakash is perhaps the greatest 'might have been' in post-war English cricket, but, sadly, that's where he's destined to stay. Time to move on.

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