England will consider recalling veteran batsman Mark Ramprakash for the fifth Ashes Test against Australia, more than seven years after his last Test appearance. National selector Geoff Miller said yesterday that the 39-year-old Surrey batsman is in contention for the series decider at the Oval after the team's middle-order failed dismally in the fourth Test defeat that squared the series at 1-1.
Ramprakash made the last of his 52 Test appearances against New Zealand in April 2002, but has been in top form the past four years and again averages more than 100 in the County Championship this season. Ramprakash also averages 42.40 in Ashes Tests, compared to just 27.32 in Tests overall. "Mark has not stated he's not available for international cricket, so we will discuss that," Miller told Cricinfo. "It's not just my decision, it's a team decision, and we'll sit down as a unit. We have a consistency and continuity angle as far as selection is concerned and we try to stick to that as much as possible. But we do want to win this series, which is a matter of winning this game in a one-match situation, so it's a very difficult equation."
With their middle-order having contributed just 16 runs in the defeat at Headingley, England are contemplating changes to their line-up when the squad are announced on Sunday - four days before the match starts. Kevin Pietersen is injured and No 3 Ravi Bopara averages just 15 in his seven series innings against Australia. Ian Bell contributed just eight and three on his return to the team in the fourth Test, which Australia won by an innings and 80 runs inside three days.
But England will not ask Marcus Trescothick to come out of international retirement. Miller said that the 33-year-old batsman would not be considered for the series decider despite leading the county championship scoring with 1,330 runs at an average of 78.23. * AP