Mark Ramprakash’s life has been entirely dedicated to cricket since the age of 17, when he signed as a professional. Since then he’s found fame playing for England, Middlesex and Surrey.
Mark Ramprakash was born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, and is of Indian and English descent. 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.
Ramprakash was selected for his first Test match for England against the West Indies at Headingley in 1991. 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.
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.
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 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 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.
n 2009 there was, yet again, much media speculation that Ramprakash should receive an England call up for the final Test match of the 2009 Ashes series. He averaged 90 for Surrey in 2009.
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.
In 2012 Mark Ramprakash retired from playing professional cricket.
Ramprakash played 442 first class matches, 729 innings, and scored 34839 runs at an average of 54.6. Moreover, he has struck 144 fifties and 113 centuries with a best of 301 n.o. With those 113 hundreds he is at 16 in the all-time list of first class century-makers, just one behind Sir Viv Richards’s 114 and four behind Sir Donald Bradman’s 117.
In January 2013 Mark Ramprakash returned to Middlessex CCC as their batting coach.
In the 2013 New Year’s Honours List Mark Ramprakash was awarded an MBE for his services to Cricket.
Mark said “I think this MBE eclipses all that I have achieved in the game. It came straight out of the blue”.
Michael P. Cohen – CEO MPC Entertainment said “114 First Class Centuries is something that will probably never be achieved again. This award is richly deserved and we congratulate Mark on this outstanding recognition of his services to Cricket”
Mark Ramprakash presented a fascinating documentary on Twenty 20 cricket for BBC Radio Asian Network. To listen to the documentary please click here.
In October 2014 Mark Ramprakash hosted a documentary on the Indian Festival of Navratri on BBC1 TV.
In November 2014 Mark Ramprakash was appointed as the new England Cricket Team Batting coach and will be accompanying the team to Sri Lanka and also to the World Cup in Australia in 2015.
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