Recall for Ramps?

There’s an interesting claim by Mike Selvey in this morning’s Guardian: apparently Mark Ramprakash is on the verge of an England recall.

There is a strong rumour doing the rounds that when the England squad to contest the Test series against Sri Lanka is announced tomorrow week, the name of Andrew Strauss will be missing and in its place will be that of Mark Ramprakash. It would, were it to happen, be another stunner in a sporting autumn that already has had more turn-ups than a Savile Row clearance sale.

Only last month, with a strict brief to ensure that selections should anticipate playing a full part in England cricket over the next year, Strauss, already jettisoned from the one-day plans, was awarded a central contract by the chairman of selectors, David Graveney, and the England coach, Peter Moores. Given that in the past year three contracted players in particular – Marcus Trescothick, Ashley Giles and Simon Jones – played little or no cricket for England while receiving sizeable salaries, there would be no shortage of flak heading their way if such an exercise in generosity were to be repeated.

It’s a fascinating suggestion, although personally I don’t think the England selectors will pick him. It’s just not worth their while. If he succeeds, there’ll be the inevitable question of why he wasn’t picked earlier (his excellent Ashes record should have been a factor last year). And the very first time he fails, the critics will come creeping out of the woodwork, accusing England of ‘taking a backwards step’ and ‘holding back’ some promising young batsman or other. And though Ramprakash himself seems less mentally fragile than before, a low score in his first knock might see all those bad memories come flooding back.

If he is picked, it would at least provide us with a definitive verdict on county cricket. If the most prolific county cricketer of his generation couldn’t translate that form into Test success, it might be time to start asking the ECB some probing questions.

Willis: Hick and Ramprakash ‘clogging up county cricket’

Bob Willis is never short of opinions. Not all of them are conventional or even particularly thought through, but writing in the latest issue of The Wisden Cricketer he has slammed just about everyone. Ageing players such as Graeme Hick, Mark Ramprakash and Dominic Cork are wasting the money the ECB “create” through their revenue streams, thus impacting on the next generation of England stars.

I don’t have much of an issue with these three, or indeed for any ageing former England player – so long as they perform and contribute to the team. Ramprakash continues to be as prolific a batsman as any – Hick less so, but nevertheless is a reassuring face in a brittle Worcestershire line-up. If their frail frames falter, then goodnight – but so long as they’re producing the goods, their experience is invaluable to younger players.

The Kolpak issue is altogether different, and I suppose I’m contradicting myself if I can allow old English players to play rather than old non-England-qualified Greek/Australian players. But there must be some form of regulation (which, admittedly, comes into force next year) for the selection of third-grade Kolpakians. It’s out of control and impeding the progress of young English talent.

Willis is really off on one, which is always enjoyable to read rather than listen to. Cricinfo has a synopsis and we’ll have the piece up either this weekend or next. Offer your thoughts below.

Butcher on lead; Ramprakash on vocals

If you haven’t seen it, you’ve not missed out a great deal. But it’s a bit of a laugh anyway. Here are Mark Butcher and Mark Ramprakash in Surrey’s Twenty20 promo video.

Via Nathan Ross on Youtube

Mark Butcher on ‘Just the Two of Us’

First there was Darren Gough. Then Mark Ramprakash. And now, Mark Butcher is the third recent England cricketer to swap his whites for the mic. It’s passed me by until now but, on a drizzly Sunday evening, what else can you do but wade through the TV channels and find some nonsense to watch? The nonsense is called Just the Two of Us and is one of these reality TV things. I hate them with furious passion.

Whereas Gough and Ramprakash had no dancing ability whatsoever, yet still somehow managed to win, Butcher is a guitarist and musician of repute. So he’ll probably win it like his two England colleagues did.

All is not lost, England. Andrew Flintoff is a keen Elvis fan so look out for him on this show next year, with Steve Harmison on maracas and Chris Read and Geraint Jones fighting for the drumsticks.

“It’s not a blood sport; this is music,” Butcher said. “It’s not about hurting people it’s about making you feel good, and hopefully we did that tonight.”

God help us all.

Update Superb work from Will. Moments after posting that, Butcher was cast off into oblivion. Sorry!

Mark Rumbakash

I should get a job with The Sun. I’m that good. If you haven’t deciphered my witty headline, then be reminded that Mark Ramprakash – former England cricketer, current Surrey bowling destroyer – is appearing on Strictly Come Dancing this evening. As the bloke who runs a site of the similar name to this blog often says, HOW GOOD IS THAT? Well Andy – and Mark – not very good, frankly. But it should be entertaining at least.

But enough of that, here’s a photo from sunny Salcombe

Looking out across The Bar

Strictly for our amusement?

So Ramps is going dancing. I had a chat with him the other day which you can read at Cricinfo. Should be fun to watch; he’s pretty down-to-earth about the whole thing. I wonder if Gough will be watching…

Meanwhile, I’m in Devon – but it’s been a day to forget….
Contine reading

Mark Ramprakash to appear on Strictly Come Dancing

Oh dear God. As if 17,000 runs in a season isn’t enough to persuade David Graveney to select him (and it isn’t) it was confirmed today that Mark Ramprakash is to appear in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing. Didn’t he learn from Darren Gough?

Maybe Bruce Forsyth is a mole for the England selectors; perhaps they have Ramprakash on standby but are unconvinced by his feet movement…

Update: interview with Ramps at Cricinfo.

Ramprakash reaches 2000 runs

Good grief. 2000 runs is a lot of runs. He last did it in 1995, a season I remember well and I watched much of his batting then too. Somehow, his form this year seems even more fluid than back in '95.

He reached the landmark against Worcestershire, the second time this season he has scored one against them. It was his 8th in Championship cricket and he is now just 13 away from a century of centuries.

Shirt lifters

Made me chuckle. I know who’s behind this, putting a shirtless Ramprakash on the front page of Cricinfo, and I know who is going to be cooing insufferably all day. Thank God I’ve a day off!

Front page of Cricinfo with Mark Ramprakash

Incidentally, the reason behind Ramprakash’s shirt-waving antics can be read here.

Rampaging Mark Ramprakash

Mark Ramprakash is 276 not out, and with two full days to go, I don’t see why Surrey shouldn’t allow him to go on and get himself a triple century. So if you live in the London area, and you haven’t anything else to do tomorrow, go down to the Oval and cheer him on.

Also while you are there you can bag Ian Harvey, who plays for Gloucestershire, for having possibly the worst haircut ever.