CRICKET:Ramprakash needs to prove his point

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With England's senior cricketers not exactly covering themselves in glory in Australia there is a powerful incentive for the England A side, who begin a series of three five-day "Tests" against their Indian counterparts in Bangalore today. Success could mean an early promotion.

Mark Ramprakash, 25, and leg spinner Ian Salisbury, 24, both discarded from the senior squad, know that with even younger talent knocking on the door, now really is the time to show their Test quality.

Ramprakash, who has been given the key No 4 position believes he is mentally atuned to the task ahead.

"I'm very happy with the way things are going," he said. "I have Test experience to draw on, but I feel it is a case of relaxing more in the pressure situations."

The all-rounder Dominic Cork is also desperate to show he is worth a Test call-up, and Richard Stemp, Yorkshire's slow left-armer, can put pressure on Phil Tufnell's England place if he performs well in India.

Stemp has certainly begun well, with India's chairman of selectors, Gundappa Viswanath - a veteran of 91 Tests in the 70s and 80s - already predicting great things for him.

ENGLAND A: N V Knight, M P Vaughan, J E R Gallian, M R Ramprakash, A P Wells (capt), P N Weekes, D G Cork, P A Nixon (wkt), I D K Salisbury, G Chapple, R D Stemp.

IINDIA A (from): V Rathore, J Singh, P Amre (capt), S Ganguly, R Dravid, A Muzumdar, V Yadav (wkt), S Bahutule, P Mhambrey, U Chatterjee, A Kuruvilla, R Chauhan.