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Wily Ramps is in the frame as England lose patience

NATIONAL selector Geoff Miller yesterday refused to rule out the possibility of golden oldie Mark Ramprakash being handed a sensational Test recall for the decisive fifth Ashes Test at The Oval.<br /><br />England look set to be forced into middle order changes following their catastrophic innings and 80-run defeat to Australia in the third Test at Headingley.<br /><br />Ravi Bopara, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood, batting at three, four and five, scored just 16 runs between them in the Test &ndash; a record low for England &ndash; prompting calls for a shake-up ahead of next week&rsquo;s showdown.<br /><br />Bopara, in particular, is the batsman whose place looks most under threat with the No3 having scored just 105 runs in his seven innings in the series so far, at an average of just 15.<br /><br />Ramprakash, 39, made the last of his 52 Test appearances back in 2002, but has been in sparkling form for Surrey this season, averaging 100.75.<br /><br />Despite his average Test record, Ramprakash averages 42.40 in his 12 Tests against Australia and has been touted by former England legend Alec Stewart for a one-off Test return on his home ground.<br /><br />Kent captain Robert Key, Warwickshire&rsquo;s Jonathan Trott and Owais Shah, of Middlesex, are also in the running, and Miller admits there is plenty to discuss. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not ruling anybody out,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;What we have to do as selectors is measure the quality of what they are doing in domestic cricket and whether they can do it internationally. There&rsquo;s a lot more pressure in Test cricket, it&rsquo;s a different game altogether.<br /><br />&ldquo;The players we have in the side are good enough to be international players. It doesn&rsquo;t necessarily mean, all of a sudden, that they are not good enough. We stay loyal with the players unless we feel it&rsquo;s completely necessary to make those changes. We will sit down and work out the best way forward.&rdquo;<br /><br />As Bopara and England toiled on Sunday, Ramprakash smashed a classy 134 not out against Derbyshire &ndash; his 108th first-class century, moving him level with Pakistan's Zaheer Abbas in 16th place on the all-time list.<br /><br />That, following on from his season&rsquo;s best 274 against Leicestershire last week at The Oval, took his overall runs tally to 1,209 for the season.<br /><br />Bopara, meanwhile, is one of five players released by the England and Wales Cricket Board this week to play for their counties this week in a bid to regain some much-needed form and confidence. He goes back to Essex along with Alastair Cook, while Warwickshire batsman Ian Bell, Nottinghamshire spinner Graeme Swann and Durham seamer Graham Onions are the others to depart.<br /><br /><strong>RAVI BOPARA</strong><br /><strong>FOR:</strong> The man in the shirt. Top form for Essex helped justify his selection for the back-to-back tours with West Indies and he cemented his position with three successive centuries<br /><br /><strong>AGAINST:</strong> With an average of just 15 so far this series, Bopara is woefully low on form and confidence. His golden duck at Headingley surely signals the end<br /><br /><strong>ROBERT KEY</strong><br /><strong>FOR: </strong>As captain of Kent and England Lions, Key is another leader to help galvanise an England dressing room lacking in confidence. He is also an extremely capable No3<br /><strong><br />AGAINST:</strong> Has not played a Test match for four and a half years and that lack of recent Test experience may well be targeted by the Australians at The Oval<br /><br /><strong>MARK RAMPRAKASH</strong><br /><strong>FOR:</strong> With an average of 100.75 in first-class cricket for Surrey this season, Ramprakash is playing as well as ever and always enjoys batting on his home ground at The Oval<br /><strong><br />AGAINST:</strong> Not played a Test match in seven years after an up and down Test career which culminated in a batting average of 27.32. Plus, at 39, is a Test recall beyond him?<br /><br /><strong>JONATHAN TROTT<br />FOR:</strong> Bang in form with the bat for Warwickshire this season, averaging 97. Headstrong and confident batsman well worthy of his call-up to the squad <br /><strong><br />AGAINST:</strong> His lack of experience at Test level could go against him for such a crucial match. Played in two one-day internationals for England with little success<br /><strong><br />OWAIS SHAH<br />FOR:</strong> Bang among the runs for Middlesex this season and looks to have regained his confidence after being left out of the home series with West Indies<br /><br /><strong>AGAINST:</strong> Seemingly out of favour with the selectors and with an average of 26.90, has failed to live up to his expectations in his six Tests so far