|Full name||Mark Ravin Ramprakash|
5 September 1969 |
Bushey, Hertfordshire, England
|Nickname||Ramps, Bloodaxe, The Hips|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Bowling style||Right arm off-spin|
|Test debut (cap 549)||6 June 1991 v West Indies|
|Last Test||3 April 2002 v New Zealand|
|ODI debut (cap 114)||25 May 1991 v West Indies|
|Last ODI||13 October 2001 v Zimbabwe|
|Domestic team information|
|2001–2012||Surrey (squad no. 77)|
|Source: CricketArchive, 11 July 2013|
Mark Ravin Ramprakash, MBE (born 5 September 1969) is a former English cricketer. A right-handed batsman, he initially made his name playing for Middlesex, and was selected for England aged 21. Despite being among the most gifted and heavily scoring English batsman of his generation at county level, he rarely performed well during a long but intermittent international career. He became a particularly prolific run scorer when he moved to Surrey in 2001, averaging over 100 runs per innings in two successive seasons (2006 & 2007). He is one of only 25 players in the history of the sport to have scored 100 first-class centuries. In November 2012, he was announced as the batting coach for the England Lions in India. In January 2013 he was appointed as batting coach for Middlesex, on a two-year contract.
Early life and career
Mark Ramprakash was born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, and is of Indo-Caribbean and English descent. His father, born in the Caribbean, was an Indo-Guyanese and his mother was English. He attended Gayton High School (now Harrow High School), and then Harrow Weald Sixth Form College. His first local club was Bessborough Cricket Club in Headstone Lane where he showed early promise as a fast bowler before concentrating on his batting. He played his first match for Middlesex aged just 17, scoring 63 not out against Yorkshire, and top-scoring with 71 in his second match against Essex at Chelmsford (he was still a sixth-form student at the time). He scored his maiden first-class century at Headingley against Yorkshire in 1989, and captained the England U-19 team. He came to national prominence when, at the age of only 18, he won the man-of-the match award in the 1988 NatWest Trophy Final after his innings of 56 helped Middlesex beat Worcestershire.
During his early days as a professional cricketer, Ramprakash had a reputation as a something of a mercurial and stormy character. Nicknamed "Bloodaxe" by Middlesex team-mates for his short temper, Ramprakash's younger days are now sharply contrasted with the laconic mellowness of his thirties.
Ramprakash at a young age had to choose between playing football for Watford FC or continue his playing career in cricket. His choice was made easier after Watford moved to London Colney training centre shared with Arsenal and after losing 7–0 he chose to continue with cricket.
Ramprakash was selected for his first Test match for England against the West Indies at Headingley in 1991. This was the same game in which Graeme Hick made his England Test debut, and like Hick, he struggled to impress producing a series of scores in the 20s. He was dropped in 1992 after a number of poor performances. However, his consistent heavy scoring in county cricket meant that he was always on the fringes of selection.
He was recalled to the England team for the final Test of the 1993 Ashes series. With Australia already 4–0 up it was a dead rubber, but he produced his first substantial innings for England by scoring 64 to help the team grab a consolation victory. This booked him a place on the subsequent tour of the West Indies. However, another string of low scores meant he was dropped and out of the selectors' plans. Ramprakash was not selected in the touring party for the 1994–95 Ashes series, but was chosen as vice-captain for the England A tour to India. However, an injury to Graeme Hick meant that he was flown out to play in the final Ashes Test scoring a useful 72. He was in and out of the England team over the next few years, never assured of selection but still scoring very heavily for Middlesex.
A breakthrough of sorts came in the 1997–98 Test series against the West Indies when he scored 154 in the fifth Test in Barbados. It was his first Test century and it earned him regular selection for the England team for the next few years. While he scored a number of fifties against various teams (notably Australia), he was only able to add one more century to his tally – 133 against Australia at The Oval in the 2001 Ashes series. He was not picked again after England's tour of New Zealand in March 2002.
During the build-up to the final Ashes Test of 2009, with the series poised at 1–1, Ramprakash was widely touted in the press as a possible choice to improve the struggling England middle order, with a number of pundits, including Alec Stewart, suggesting his selection. However, Jonathan Trott was selected instead, going on to score a Test century on debut.
In 2001, thoroughly disillusioned with the organisation at Middlesex, who were by now playing second division level cricket, he joined London rivals Surrey. His form improved markedly as a result. In the 2003 season, he became the first player to have scored a century against all 18 county teams, and completed the set with a century against his former county Middlesex. Only Carl Hooper and Chris Adams have since achieved this feat.
Ramprakash became the first man to captain both Middlesex and Surrey when he stood in for the injured Mark Butcher at the start of the 2005 English cricket season. Butcher did not recover until the middle of August, and Ramprakash remained captain for most of the season. Ramprakash's move to Surrey seemed to backfire in 2005 when Surrey were relegated after a poor season. However, in their final Championship game, against Middlesex, who were also in danger of relegation themselves, Ramprakash gained consolation by hitting 252, sharing a Surrey record for a fifth-wicket partnership of 318 with Azhar Mahmood as Surrey made 686 for five declared, and duly won by an innings and 39 runs.
In 2006, Ramprakash, relieved of the unwanted burden of captaincy, displayed outstandingly good form, making a career-best 292 against Gloucestershire in May, then improving that still further with 301 not out against Northamptonshire in early August. Later that month against Worcestershire he made 196 in the first innings, and in the process passed 2,000 runs in first-class cricket for the summer in only his 20th innings (a record). Ramprakash, the leading run scorer in 2006, was the first man to score 2,000 runs in a season since the Australian Mike Hussey in 2001, and the first Englishman to do it since Ramprakash himself back in 1995. He also became the first man to score over 150 runs in an innings in five consecutive matches. He ended with 2,278 runs at an average of 103.54, only the sixth man to average over one hundred over eight or more completed first-class innings in an English season.  Surrey gained promotion back into the first division. His excellent form led some commentators to say that the England selectors should consider him for that winter's Ashes tour: Mike Selvey called him "the best technician of his generation with a good record in trying circumstances in Australia" and said that he should be considered as a possible replacement for Marcus Trescothick.  He was not, however, chosen. His 2006 form also won him the Professional Cricketers' Association Player of the Year Award and selection as one of five Wisden Cricketers of the Year.
His fine form continued in 2007, and Ramprakash was once again the most prolific batsman in county cricket. He finished the season with 2,026 first-class runs, including ten centuries, at an average of 101.30, becoming the only man to average over 100 in two consecutive English seasons. His twin hundreds in the final game of the season, against Lancashire, are widely said to have ended Lancashire's hopes of winning the championship. His form and professionalism led to further remarks that he should be recalled to the England side. Ramprakash himself stated that whilst he found this attention flattering, he had more or less abandoned any hope of being recalled to the England team, given the present selection policy targeted towards youth.
In 2008, Ramprakash scored a century in his first innings of the season – his third consecutive first-class century, all against Lancashire – and another (his 99th) two matches later. He finally scored his 100th 100 against Yorkshire at Headingley on 2 August 2008, becoming only the 25th player to reach this mark. It mirrored his very first century, also scored at Headingley. He hit 200 not out vs Somerset to get his 101st first-class hundred.
In 2010, Ramprakash again emerged as county cricket's leading run-getter – albeit in the second division. After 16 matches and 28 innings he ended the season with 1595 runs at an average of 61.34, including 5 hundreds with a highest score of 248.
By the time of his retirement as a cricketer from all forms of the game on 4 July 2012 he had scored 114 hundreds, 16th in the all-time list of first-class century-makers, just three behind Sir Donald Bradman's 117.
In an article in the Daily Telegraph marking his retirement, entitled "Mark Ramprakash: A champion of elegance in helmet and pads", Jim White wrote "...with him will pass into history one of the most beautiful and stylish sights ever seen on a sporting field: Ramprakash taking a long pace forward out of the crease and driving a cricket ball boundary-wards... When he addressed the ball, with everything aligned, everything in the right place, he produced an image which can only be described as exquisite."
In 2006, Ramprakash and Karen Hardy won the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. The couple beat Matt Dawson, former England rugby player, and Lilia Kopylova in the final. Ramprakash was the second consecutive cricketer to win the show, following former England team mate Darren Gough.
On 9 March 2008, Ramprakash appeared on the CBBC show Hider in the House, setting up dad Ian Smeeton, with Ian's wife Wendy, two children Will and Pippa Smeeton, and their friend Dougy in Cambridge. He completed all his challenges.
In a special edition of Strictly Come Dancing for Sport Relief on 14 March 2008, Ramprakash and partner Kara Tointon were the winners after performing a samba. In 2008, he appeared on a special Strictly Come Dancing episode of The Weakest Link, being the fifth one voted off.
He used to be on the books of Watford F.C. as a schoolboy, but gave up the game to concentrate on his cricket. He also did a stint as a P.E. teacher at St. Martin's School, Northwood, in 2003, teaching football for a brief period as a consideration for a job after cricket.
- Ramprakash sweeps up, from BBC Sports Academy, retrieved 26 September 2006
- "Ramprakash to be batting coach for Lions in India". Wisden India. 9 November 2012.
- Simon Hughes (10 May 2008). "Mark Ramprakash nears historic milestone". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 January 2009.
- Colin Spiro (14 January 2008). "Mark Ramprakash reveals Aussie abuse". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 January 2009.
- Hughes, Simon (10 May 2008). "Mark Ramprakash nears historic milestone". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- 5th Test: West Indies v England at Barbados, 12–16 March 1998
- Ramprakash in England contention. BBC Sport Website. Retrieved on 10 August 2009
- Hopps, David (14 August 2009). "England drop Ravi Bopara and bring in Jonathan Trott for Ashes finale". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- Wilde, Simon (23 August 2009). "Jonathan Trott century puts Ashes within reach". The Times (London). Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- Lynch, Steven (2 October 2006). "The fastest hundreds, and a Case history". Cricinfo. Retrieved 19 November 2006.
- "Fewest Innings to Reach 2000 Runs in a Season". CricketArchive. Retrieved 6 September 2006.
- "Wisden Cricketer of the Year – Mark Ramprakash". CricInfo News.
- Lynch, Steven (18 September 2006). "Averaging 100, and hundreds in lost causes". Cricinfo. Retrieved 26 September 2006.
- "Ramps dances to history". Surrey Advertiser. Retrieved 26 September 2006.
- Selvey, Mike (12 September 2006). "Six burning Ashes questions". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 14 September 2006.
- "Ramprakash takes top player award". BBC News. 25 September 2006. Retrieved 26 September 2006.
- Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, 2007 Edition, ISBN 978-1-905625-02-4.
- Frindall, Bill (2009). Ask Bearders. BBC Books. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-84607-880-4.
- "Sussex close in on county crown". inthenews.co.uk. 21 September 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2007.
- "How [the England selectors] can continue to overlook a fit, quick-footed, run-hungry batsman who has uniquely averaged over 100 in successive seasons beggars belief." From the preface, Frindall, Bill (2008). Playfair Cricket Annual 2008. Headline. ISBN 978-0-7553-1745-5.
- "Ramprakash in England contention". BBC News. 10 August 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- "Cricket Records | Season 2009 – Surrey | Records | First-class matches | Highest averages". ESPN Cricinfo. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
- "Mark Ramprakash to captain MCC against Lancashire". BBC Sport. 24 February 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- "Mark Ramprakash announces retirement from cricket". 5 July 2012.
- "Mark Ramprakash retires: Adams & Stewart pay tribute". BBC News. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- Daily Telegraph: "Mark Ramprakash: A champion of elegance in helmet and pads", 6 July 2012 Retrieved 6 July 2012
- The London Gazette: . 29 December 2012.
- Mark Ramprakash: What I've Learnt This Week, Independent, Retrieved on 17 April 2009
- Player profile: Mark Ramprakash from ESPNcricinfo
- Player profile: Mark Ramprakash from CricketArchive
- Mark Ramprakash from Surrey County Cricket Club
- Mark Ramprakash at the Internet Movie Database
|Middlesex County Cricket Captain
|Awards and achievements|
Darren Gough and Lilia Kopylova
|Strictly Come Dancing Champion
(with partner Karen Hardy)
Series 4 (2006)
Alesha Dixon and Matthew Cutler