Ramprakash calls it a day
Former England batsman Mark Ramprakash today announced his retirement from cricket.
The 42-year-old, whose career began with Middlesex in 1987, made the decision after losing his place in the Surrey team this season.
"I'd like to formally announce my retirement from first-class cricket. I'd like to express how lucky I feel to have had such a long career," said Ramprakash at the Kia Oval.
Ramprakash amassed 114 first-class centuries - two of which were for England - and 35,659 runs at an average of 53.14.
But he failed to realise his potential in international cricket, which he finished with a Test average of only 27 from his 52 caps.
“I’ve been asked many times in recent years about regrets over my England career,” he said.
“You do the best you can at that time. I know I couldn’t have trained any harder, I listened to other people and I did the best I could at that time.
“If you’ve done that, then you don’t look back with any regrets. I went through many ups and downs at international level, but had some highlights.
“Playing my first Test in 1991 when we beat the West Indies was one, another was here in Ashes matches.
“The best innings I ever played was here against Australia in 2001 (when he scored 133).”
Ramprakash’s last Test was in 2002, but he was touted for a comeback in the 2009 Ashes on the back of his prolific county form which continued into 2010.
The decline began last season, however, when he averaged 33.33 and this year he was dropped by Surrey for the first time and subsequently failed to regain his form.
Media work will keep Ramprakash in the game, while the winner of Strictly Come Dancing in 2006 may also pursue coaching.
“I had a tough start to this season, but I continued to try and remain fit and wanted to play,” said Ramprakash, whose contract was due to expire in September.
“However, last week I was informed I was not in Surrey’s selection plans and therefore I felt the time was right to step aside.
“It was a very difficult decision to make. I wanted to finish my career strongly and felt September would likely be the time I look to new pastures.
“But having had a tough start and being left out of the side, that brought things forward. The last thing you want is to go on too long.
“I still felt I had something to offer and I want to go out and play tonight.
“I feel I can still play at this level, but a playing contract with another county isn’t really in my mind at the moment
“I’m not sure what the future holds, but professional cricket has taught me many things about life. I look forward to new opportunities.
“Coaching does interest me without doubt, I enjoy bringing young players on.
“I’ve done the qualifications, so coaching is an option. I hope to pursue some media work as well.”
On the question of the toughest bowler he had faced, Ramprakash named four who stood out.
“I’ve faced spells where I’ve thought ’this is tough, this is really quick’ - Malcolm Marshall, Allan Donald, Brett Lee and Wasim Akram,” he said.
“There have been times when I thought ’I’m struggling to get a bat on this’.”
Averaging 42 in 12 Tests against Australia only strengthens the enigmatic view of Ramprakash, but he remains proud of his career.
“I’d like to be remembered as someone who gave everything,” he said.
“I tried to be very competitive, fight for my side and contribute. I tried to do the hard yards for my team.”