A heavy fourth Test defeat at Headingley has left England’s Ashes hopes hanging by a thread and many pundits calling for a step back in time!
After a horrendous spell in the middle order and with Kevin Pietersen sat in the stands, Mark Ramprakash, Robert Key, Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan have all been talked up as potential call-ups.
Former skipper Vaughan and Somerset opener Trescothick will not be talked out of retirement, but the selectors refuse to rule out one-Test returns for the decisive final showdown at the Oval.
For years the England selectors said they would never look back and would continue to progress with a younger generation, but that crop of batsmen are falling short just at the wrong time.
Ravi Bopara (batting three), Ian Bell (batting four) and Paul Collingwood (betting six) scored just 16 runs between them in the two innings at Headingley and one, if not two, look set for the axe in the fifth Test.
Coach Andy Flower has reiterated the need for runs and indicated that Bopara could be the one to miss out. Flower said: “We have to think about the middle order. We’ve got one ton in this series and they’ve got eight.
“Ravi Bopara has had a hard time. He was very confident coming in, but he’s taken some knocks.”
After impressing against the West Indies home and away, the Essex batsman has endured a nightmare in the current series, with a highest score of 35 coming in the first innings of the first Test at Cardiff.
Warwickshire’s Jonathan Trott seems the most likely replacement following his call-up to the squad at Headingley, but with England things are rarely so simple!
Surely a return to the veteran Ramprakash though would signal that the selectors have been wrong in the past and would put many of their roles and England’s Ashes prospects on the line.