London: England's chairman of selectors David Graveney wants to have talks with Graham Thorpe at The Oval during next week's final Test against India after the troubled left-handed batsman announced he was available for the forthcoming Ashes tour.
Surrey left-hander Thorpe, 33, decided to take an indefinite break from all cricket after England's first Test victory over India at Lord's in July. His move was prompted by the break-up of his marriage and discussions about access arrangements to his young children, Henry, five, and three-year-old Amelia. But, after having spoken to England captain Nasser Hussain and coach Duncan Fletcher earlier in this week, Thorpe has declared his readiness to play for both club and country once again. However, Graveney has yet to be convinced that Thorpe is in the right frame of mind to take on world champions Australia. "Graham has spoken to Duncan already and I'm going to ask him to come down to The Oval and talk to myself and (fellow selector) Geoff Miller," explained Graveney. "We have made provisions in our Ashes squad both with Graham and without him but it will be good to speak to him face to face. "I understand that things have improved in Graham's life which is good to hear because it can't have been easy going through what he has been through in the last year." Thorpe, who averages over 45 against Australia, told The Mail on Sunday, "I spoke to Duncan and told him I want to be considered for Australia. Duncan took on board what I had to say and the reasons for my decision and, although he made no commitment to me, it was important for me to let him know where I stand. "I know Duncan and Nasser will be concerned that the risk in taking me might be too great, but all I can do is try to assure them of my focus and commitment. "There would be no point in making myself available if I wasn't utterly convinced that I would be able to cope with the situation. "I will also make myself available for Surrey for the final three weeks of the season. It's important for me to demonstrate that my commitment is real. I'm ready," Thorpe insisted. Earlier this season Thorpe announced his retirement from international One-day cricket in a bid, he said, both to ease his personal problems and prolong his Test career. Then came the announcement of his break from all forms of the game. But whatever doubts there are about his desire to play international cricket Thorpe, capped 77 times by England, has proved himself to be a world-class performer since making a century on his Test debut against Australia in 1993 In March he scored the second-fastest Test double hundred, against New Zealand, in Christchurch. But thanks to a combination of both personal and back problems, he has only completed one full England touring programme out of the past five.
Thatscricket Special: English Summer