|Another classy shot from Ramps|
I first encountered Ramprakash as a thirteen year old at the Middlesex indoor nets at Finchley, when he was playing for Bessborough CC from North West London. He then moved to Stanmore, a club he has represented this season, and a sixteen year old Ramprakash took a strong Southgate attack in the Middlesex County League for a mere 180 odd! He even had the confidence to tell a Southgate bowler who he had just dispatched into the tennis courts, "Don't bowl that shit at me, you know who I am?" At sixteen!!!!
At the age of eighteen, a fifty for Middlesex in the Nat West Trophy final of 1988 made people from all around the country sit up and take notice of the new kid in town and selection for England followed in 1991.
|Ramps on test debut in 1991|
Test cricket wasn't a hugely successful story and rumours of petulant tantrums, being too uptight or tense, and spats with various figures of authority led to him averaging 27 over 52 tests. His average and test caps should be twice what they were for one of the finest and most talented players for a generation. Occasionally he showed his class and a 154 against the Windies in Barbados was an outstanding knock, as was his 133 against a brilliant Australian team in 2001.
It was in county cricket that the man with the nickname Bloodaxe, really proved he was a great player passing 2000 runs three times and scoring 1000 runs in a season a mere twenty times! He averaged 53 and anyone who does that over a twenty five year period, you need to doff one's cap at. He even averaged a hundred twice in a season. Serious shit. Yet it still could have been more.
Maybe this feeling comes from a bias towards Middlesex? Ramprakash never endeared himself to his supporters north of the river after a high profile move across the Thames to Surrey, where he became one of the highest earners in cricket.
Ramprakash had arguably more natural talent than any player of recent years, and his Test career will always have me thinking that he never fully fulfilled such a talent. Maybe an English Tendulkar? He really could have been that good.
With a media career surely beckoning, especially after a winning stint on Strictly Come Dancing, the marketable Ramps won't be foxtrotting off of our screens for a few more years just yet!
However, I will always look back on his career and the word of underachievement springs to mind. Amazing isn't it, when you look at the statistics of such a fine player?