After all the assurance, Thorpe pulls out of Ashes tour

Published: Tuesday, September 24, 2002, 19:54 [IST]
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London: Graham Thorpe has pulled out of England's Ashes tour, two weeks after convincing selectors he was in the right frame of mind to undertake the trip to Australia. The left-handed batsman had assured England's management that the problems in his personal life, which forced him to take a break from cricket this summer, would not prevent him completing the tour. But the chairman of selectors, David Graveney, said on Tuesday that Thorpe had contacted them again to inform them he would not be touring after all. The 33-year-old's decision leaves a gaping hole in England's middle order and there is no obvious candidate to replace him, although Mark Ramprakash, Robert Key and Nick Knight will all be hoping for a call. Graveney was sympathetic to Thorpe's unexpected decision. "He has been honest and he feels he cannot do what he would want to do in a normal situation," he told BBC Radio. "I can't imagine what he has gone through in the last six months and obviously the situation might have changed from two weeks ago." Thorpe retired from One-day International cricket in the summer in order to devote more time to his young family following the break-up of his marriage. At the time, Thorpe said he was delighted to have been picked and determined to repay the selectors' faith. "I feel the break has given me the chance to clear my mind and address the off field issues which were there before. Everything is now more settled in my private life and I'm looking forward to playing cricket again." The move to include Thorpe appeared to have been justified when he returned to form with Surrey, making 143 in a County Championship match against Hampshire.

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