Cricket: Ramprakash hurt by England omission

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The Independent Online
MARK RAMPRAKASH has spoken of his dismay at the selectors' decision yesterday to omit him from the England squads to tour South Africa and Zimbabwe this winter.

"After all the calls for change, it looks like my name's come out of the hat. I feel I have been made a scapegoat," Ramprakash said. "The explanation given that the selectors think I need a rest is not satisfactory. No one asked me if I wanted a rest.

"I'm very disappointed because in the last two years I've played well and I think I've contributed a lot to the team effort. The only time I field short-leg is for England and I will bat wherever I'm asked. I want to score more centuries for England," Ramprakash added.

The Middlesex captain, who averages 28 in 38 Tests and has scored just the one century, has been dropped in favour of the former England captain, Alec Stewart. David Graveney, the chairman of the selectors, urged him not to despair, however. "Mark Ramprakash's future with England is not finished," Graveney said. "It came down to a choice between him and Alec Stewart - and we believe Alec to be a world-class all-rounder in terms of batting and wicketkeeping. He will go as the wicketkeeper/batsman, it gives us more options."

The selectors have kept their promise to use the Test and one-day squads to begin building for the 2001 Ashes series. Four uncapped players are in the 17-strong main squad - the Sussex captain Chris Adams, Northamptonshire's Graeme Swann, Yorkshire all-rounder Gavin Hamilton, and his teammate Michael Vaughan.

Derek Pringle, Page 16