We long ago had our say about whether Mark Ramprakash could have been an England great if he’d been treated differently. Our stance is: ‘Well maybe, but that don’t change owt’.
Today, for once, we’d like to focus on what he DID achieve, because that was pretty extraordinary. Scoring 2,000 runs in a season again and again and hitting a hundred first-class hundreds. Batsmen like that don’t come around too often. Mark Ramprakash should be lauded without reservation.
Competing in a different event
If you look upon county cricket as being something separate, rather than being a step below Test cricket, then Ramprakash is all but peerless. We’re aware that view doesn’t entirely stack up, but at the same time, there are plenty of Test greats who couldn’t achieve what he did.
There’s a big difference between hitting an immaculate cover drive and compiling a century and there’s a similar gap in achievement between hitting 30 first-class hundreds and 114. The latter takes astonishing durability, endurance and relentlessness – not to mention a certain level of outright superiority for an extended span of time.
Mark Ramprakash hit two Test hundreds, but that was kind of a bonus. Hats off to one of county cricket’s greatest batsmen.
Jonathan Trott, who is being dropped into a deep end infested with piranhas from a great height for his debut, said:
Mark Ramprakash, writing on Twitter, (genuinely) said:
“Defecating in a package to send to Geoff Miller.”
Quite bizarrely, Trott seemed to echo Ramps’ thoughts when speaking about how he’d deal with the pressure:
“I’ll try to stay relaxed and let nature take its course.”
It’s the Ashes decider. Of course everyone’s crapping themselves.
From the BBC: “Ramprakash in England contention”.
How have they deduced that this is the case? Because when asked about the likelihood of Ramprakash’s selection, England national selector, Geoff Miller, said:
“I’m not ruling anybody out.”
We’d have gone with “Geoff Capes in England contention” on the grounds that he hasn’t been ruled out either.
Maybe Ramprakash will play, but a batsman whose sole yet hugely debilitating weakness is a susceptibility to the pressure associated with Test cricket might not be the best choice for a Test that will decide a home Ashes series.
Three hundreds in as many innings for Mark Ramprakash now – the middle one a double and he hasn’t been dismissed in any of them. He’s 133 not out overnight against Sussex.
Mark Ramprakash must be the only batsman in history who can cause people to mull on his mental frailties by hitting three successive hundreds.
There are a lot of batsmen out there who’d bat without a box for a chance to have their mental frailties dwelt over after three successive hundreds.
Not Graham Thorpe though. There was a man for whom the ball was magnetically attracted to the groin. He wouldn’t have risked genital liberation for a dozen hundreds in a row.
Not literally. That would be hideous. (No, we’re never going to spurn an opportunity to make that joke.)
In this month’s issue of The Wisden Cricketer, Kevin Pietersen is asked whether Mark Ramprakash deserves a place in the England side.
“You have a look at his results since the media descended and it shows the character, doesn’t it?”
Pietersen is of course referring to the period after Ramprakash’s 99th hundred. We’ve heard similar things from a few people, but haven’t been particularly convinced. However, we read Pietersen’s interview about five minutes after Ramprakash had hit 200 against Somerset – his 101st first-class hundred.
His hundredth hundred had been in his previous innings and his 99th had been 11 innings before that. There’s certainly no disgrace in going 11 innings without a hundred, but the fact that he then rattled off two on the bounce (one a double) highlights the fact that Ramprakash has higher standards than other batsmen.
Some will take a black and white view on Ramprakash’s temperament, but we’re more inclined towards grey. He did get that hundredth hundred after all.
That’s 98 first-class hundreds, you understand. OBVIOUSLY he’s gone past a hundred in the match.
And obviously he’s not out as well. He’s just returned to the crease and Lancashire’s bowlers will be drying their eyes. Mark Ramprakash has hit a hundred in each of his last three championship innings, all of which were against Lancashire.
Generally speaking we’re against bringing back older players for England, but if someone’s averaging over 100 every single season and has 98 first-class centuries to their name, it doesn’t really matter if they’re 20 or 50. That batsman is the best there is. There isn’t a decision to be made if you’re an England selector. It’s just something you do, like eating meals or brushing your teeth.
If a cricketer’s taken the trouble to get so accomplished at batting that they can outperform all of their peers to such a frightening degree, then you don’t just owe that player a place in the England team, you owe it to the public, because everybody wants to know just how good that batsman is and they all suspect it’s ‘very’.
Owais Shah knows he needs to do better than Mark Ramprakash to get into the England team and he too scored a hundred yesterday.
This is Grimlock. He’s a dinosaur who is also a robot. It literally doesn’t get any better than that.
At the end of last season, we hypothesised that Mark Ramprakash had been spurred into overachievement by a promise from his father. We thought that maybe Mark’s dad had said he would get Galvatron for Mark if he passed 2,000 runs during the season – 2,000 runs being a ludicrous amount, ensuring that Mark’s dad wouldn’t have to part with any cash.
Unfortunately for Mark’s dad, Mark managed 2,278 runs at an average of 103.54. We urged Mark to try for Grimlock this year. Mark scored 2,026 runs at an average of 101.30, so while he’s clearly on the slide, Grimlock’s in the bag.
The man’s a genius. That’s not going to stop us from smashing Grimlock when he’s not looking though, because his last two hundreds have deprived Lancashire of the County Championship.