The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Thorpe is ready for the grind

London: Graham Thorpe, recalled to England’s squad on Tuesday for the Ashes tour of Australia which starts next month, says the off-the-field problems that caused him to take a total break from the game have now eased.

“The situation has settled down very well, become very amicable between the two parties,” the 33-year-old batsman told BBC radio in a reference to the acrimonious break-up of his marriage.

“From my own personal standpoint it is time I put myself back into the mixer and worked hard again.

“I am looking forward to working hard with the team again and getting stuck in. I don’t see too many problems arising for me off the field,” said Thorpe, who has not played any cricket since the end of July and has also retired from one-day Internationals.

“The most important thing is that my commitment and work levels are high.”

Thorpe, who averages almost 42 per innings in 77 Test matches, is confident he can once again focus on his cricket.

“No one can guarantee success on the field but you can prepare in the right way and I want to get back playing for England,” he said.

“If I didn’t believe I could play cricket for three months knowing what could happen during that time I wouldn’t have put my name in the hat.

“I have the ability to play at the highest level and I want to play at the highest level, and it is important I am committed in all areas.”

The Surrey left-hander, who has not finished a string of England tours because of personal problems or injuries, made himself available for the Ashes after England gave him a one-week deadline to make up his mind last month.

Head of selectors David Graveney told a media conference at Lord’s earlier on Tuesday: “His private life has received a lot of attention. He was very positive about getting back on the international stage.

“We looked at the risk before selecting him. His desire to play international cricket is as strong as ever, he remains one of our best batsmen.”

England’s opening tour match will be a one-day game against the Australian Cricket Board Chairman’s XI in Perth on October 22.

The first Ashes Test in Brisbane starts on November 7.

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