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Cricket: Graveney: Ramps is a coward.

ENGLAND chief David Graveney last night launched an astonishing attack on Mark Ramprakash, accusing the axed batsman of being a coward.

The Middlesex captain had blasted the selectors after being left out of the winter tour to South Africa, alleging he had been made the scapegoat for England's woeful summer.

But selectors' chairman Graveney responded with his own outburst.

Interviewed on Talk Radio, Graveney accused Ramprakash of "taking a cowardly way out" by stressing his unhappiness through the media.

"His reaction has been pretty

disappointing," said Graveney.

"He could ring me, tell me I'm wrong, that it's a load of rubbish, and bite my head off.

"But going via the tabloids is a cowardly way out."

Graveney was clearly upset by Ramprakash rounding on the selectors and accusing them of making him the fall-guy for England's World Cup debacle and Test series defeat against New Zealand.

On hearing that he was the main batting casualty, Ramprakash said: "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.

"After all the calls for change, it looks like my name's come out of the hat. I feel I've been made a scapegoat.

"The explanation given that the selectors think I need a rest is not satisfactory. No-one asked me if I wanted a rest."

Ramprakash, 28, has the best average of any England player over the past year, and his overall average is 41 in 18 Tests since being recalled in the West Indies in February, l998.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Lander, Chris
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 1, 1999
Words:258
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