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He got there in the end: Ramprakash retires

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He got there in the end: Ramprakash retires Empty He got there in the end: Ramprakash retires

Post by Shelsey93 Tue 10 Jul 2012, 10:25 am

For much of his 25-year first-class career Mark Ramprakash looked likely to be remembered as a batsman who never made the most of his obviously great ability. He has consigned that idea to history in the last decade, though it remains remarkable to think that in a Test career lasting the best part of eleven years Ramprakash only reached three figures twice, and averaged a tad over 27.

Mark Ramprakash burst on to the scene as a teenager in the 1988 NatWest Trophy final between Middlesex and Worcestershire. Coming in at 25 for 4 in pursuit of 162, many youngsters would have followed the lead of their senior team-mates and given their wickets away. When he was out, for 56, Middlesex needed just three more to win.

From then on greatness beckoned, and Ramprakash was given a Test debut against West Indies at Headingley in 1991, where Malcolm Marshall came on second change. He made 27 in each innings in a rare England victory. But the expected success never really materialised. It took him another two years to pass 50, and the wait for a Test century was seven years. It finally came at Bridgetown in 1998, and hopes were raised that a breakthrough had been made. However, he passed three figures only once more and was jettisoned for good after England’s tour to New Zealand in early 2002. So disappointing were his performances for England that one of my early connections with cricket, as a young child, was to hear the phrase ‘Ramprakash is out’ repeatedly banded around the house as my parents updated each other on what was going on in the Test match.

The reasons for Ramprakash’s failure as an international cricket are probably many and varied. Those who played with him, such as former England captain Michael Vaughan, have suggested that “he couldn’t mentally get it right in the international game”. There may be some truth in this - success often becomes more difficult when you put too much pressure on yourself - but it is hard to say that Ramprakash was totally at fault. The selection policy during his career made it difficult for anybody to establish themselves within the side, and when he did play he batted in every position from two to seven. Meanwhile, in an era before central contracts and the England Performance Programme talented players weren’t prepared for the demands of international cricket in the same way they are today.

If Ramprakash’s international career was underwhelming, his domestic career was anything but. That NatWest Trophy winning innings was followed by an extremely successful career for Middlesex, for whom he passed 2,000 runs in the 1995 season. But it was his move across the river to Surrey in 2001 that set him up for an often Bradman-esque final decade of his career with international ambitions now largely forgotten. In the 2006 season he averaged 105 in Division Two of the County Championship, and followed that up by averaging 101 in the top tier the next season. That was not the end of his run-getting as he was again the country’s leading run-scorer in 2010.

In amongst all this Ramprakash reached his 100th first-class hundred, a landmark which may well over time become his cricketing legacy, with it increasingly likely than he will be the 25th and last man to do so. The nearest current players are Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, with 78 and 77 respectively, but, given their age and that they play so little first-class cricket outside of Tests, it is inconceivable that they could reach that particular milestone.

Ramps, as he was almost universally known throughout his career, shot back into the public eye as the eventual winner of Strictly Come Dancing in 2006. During his time on the show he proved that he could cope with the spotlight, whilst winning the adoration of women around the country, my mother included.

The final season and a bit of Ramprakash’s first-class career failed to deliver plentiful returns as he struggled first with a knee injury picked up playing football in 2011, and then with poor form this year. His final match came against Sussex at Horsham early last month, where scores of 8 and 37 reflected his recent troubles. But his stats from the preceding seasons with Surrey ensure that the memories of Ramprakash the unfulfilled talent will will be dwarfed by those of the domestic run machine.

Jack Sheldon is a teenage cricket writer and has also started his own blog, found at


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Post by Adam D Sun 22 Jul 2012, 12:51 pm

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