Graham Thorpe

England’s nuggety middle order batsman shares his unbridled expertise in cricketing clichés

I believe England need to pick Rob Key for the Oval test, simple as that. Keysy’s form has been impeccable at county level and he certainly has bags of character as he showed in Australia in 2002. England’s middle order needs battlers who can stand up to the aussie bowlers and get in their spaces. Aggression is the key to England winning the ashes back and Keysy showed that in spades when he alienated most of the backroom staff during the World 20Twenty earlier this summer. For me, Keysy has to be in that line-up, no doubt about it.

A lot has been said recently about the form of Ravi Bopara and Ian Bell. For my money these two young players are class professionals and I know they can bounce back from this and come back more complete and mentally tougher. For the moment, though, I would drop the pair of them and bring in Ramprakash and Trott. Ramps has done the business on the county circuit for years and thoroughly deserves his chance. He has unfinished business at test level and I’m sure he’d love another crack at those dirty aussies.

Jonathan Trott is a quality young player who thoroughly deserves a call-up. I thought this before he was drafted into the squad for the last test and I’ve always been convinced that he’d strengthen the middle order. He’s a top lad, too, and a quality cricketer, no question.

England’s bowlers looked tired at Edgbaston and at Headingley they barely turned up. I think Harmy’s best days are behind him now and the selectors need to seriously think about bolstering the attack for The Oval. I’d bring in Ryan Sidebottom, for sure. England sorely missed his accuracy in the last test match and need someone to apply pressure at one end. Sidey has produced the goods on the county circuit for years and it wasn’t so long ago that he was England’s talisman. I’m sure he’d love to have a go at the aussies without a question of a doubt.

I for one am excited about the final test at The Oval. England have a real chance to regain the ashes in style in front of a full house. It’s the sort of thing every young player dreams of as a kid. The way I see it, England need to hold their nerve and go out there and play positive cricket, that’s for sure. If England can get to bat first and put runs on the board then they have a great chance of clinching this series. Scoreboard pressure has always been the deciding factor in test matches played at The Oval. Do England have the ability to make every run count? I certainly think they have the character to win this match, no question.

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