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December 2008
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Sam Collins: My Favourite Cricketer – Mark Ramprakash

December 19th, 2008 by Sam Collins in Miscellaneous, My favourite cricketer and tagged , , ,

Every month TWC publishes a My Favourite Cricketer by a different established writer. Recent submissions have included DJ Taylor, John Inverdale and Simon Hattenstone, and now on we are giving you the chance to tell us your own memories and win a free subscription to the magazine in the bargain. Submit no more than 600 words to [email protected] (subject line: favourite) and we’ll publish the best ones in January. Our web-editor Sam Collins has had a go below, and we’re sure you can do better than him, so get writing.

You can’t control your first loves. Gazza, Lineker and consequently Spurs post Italia ’90. Mark Ramprakash – England against the Windies at Edgbaston in ’91. I had played cricket before, but it wasn’t football. I don’t really know what happened that week, but I remember Ramps, and from then on cricket made sense.

He caught my eye straight away – making two stylish 20s as Tony Lewis and Richie Benaud willed him on, infusing their desperation to an eight year old huddled on his grandmother’s living room floor in Scotland. Even then there was an air of tragedy attached. He was too young, too flawless of face, technique and timing. And his eyes, dark and deep and unnervingly intense.

He never knew it, but I did everything with Ramps. I changed to GM with him, netted obsessively with him and struggled against Pakistan with him in ’92. I even had my hair cut like his.

His maiden half-century at The Oval in ‘93 was a great day in both our lives. I had seen my favourite player score runs on my first taste of live cricket and been stung by a wasp. He had scored 64 against Hughes, Warne and Australia.

I felt guilty, but I didn’t go with him to the West Indies in 93-94 – I may have been young, but I wasn’t stupid, and more to the point I didn’t have Sky. They called it the Caribbean Crusade, but Ramps was crucified, hung out to dry at three against the most brutal opening pair in world cricket. I couldn’t see it, but I felt his pain.

I didn’t know it then, but my betrayal was the beginning of the end. I soon moved back to Gray-Nicolls, seduced by the promise of guaranteed runs with Lara’s Scoop 2000. Worse still, I then became a bowler. He sent me a postcard from Perth in ‘95 with 42 and 72 – as if to say ‘See – I can do it against the Aussies, keep believing’, and thanks to TMS I hardly missed a run of his 154 in Bridgetown in 1998, much to the annoyance of my teachers and disruption of my sleep pattern, but things just weren’t the same.

He never kicked-on and by the next year was batting at six, sometimes seven, my protestations sounding more hollow by the day as Hussain and co. grabbed hundreds and respect at the top of the order. Solid 70s and effective marshalling of the tail had not been part of the bargain in ’91.

When he made his final Test century in 2001 – 133, again against Australia, again at The Oval– we weren’t even talking, his ridiculous stumping at Trent Bridge had seen to that.

Our paths would finally cross in Wellington the following year, where time the healer had me considering reconcilitation. I was travelling and watching, he was playing, and failing. He was on the outfield, stalking off after the warm-down when I approached him.

“Mark, er… Mr Ramprakash… could I have a ph…”.

“Fuck off”.


Sam Collins is website editor of

Posted in Miscellaneous, My favourite cricketer |

12 Responses to “Sam Collins: My Favourite Cricketer – Mark Ramprakash”

  1.   Gina says:

    What an incredibly nasty little ‘article’ this is. The Wisden Cricketer should feel ashamed at the decision to post this poisonous bit of nonsense on the net. If this is the way you expect to interest people in your magazine you are way off target.

    I can’t tell from your blurb wether this has been printed in the Wisden Cricketer. I hope not - it should lose you a lot of friends.

  2.   Gumbo says:

    Gina. Why is it nasty? It just goes to show that your heroes will very rarely qualify for sainthood.

  3.   Webbo says:

    Knowing my affection for Phil de Freitas, my mother once stalked him at the saffrons ground to get me his autograph. Such was her single minded pursuit, she followed him into the urinals to corner him. The signed scorecard is still a prized possession: “To Edward, I hope you share your mothers tenacity.”

  4.   jrod says:

    Great work Sam you nasty little thing you.

  5.   Suave says:

    Gina reads the Daily Mail.. FACT!

  6.   Gina says:

    I buy the Times every day but do sometimes read the Daily Mail online.

    As a child and a Lancashire supporter I once asked a famous cricketer for his autograph but was refused in an unpleasant way. I’ve never told anyone about this or what he said to me
    because I knew how irritating it must be to be pestered all the time. Surely he must have known how Ramprakash was feeling at that time. Yes, I think this article is a nasty, little piece of work.

  7.   D Charlton says:

    I take your point, Gina, but i do think players have an obligation to give autographs or, at the very least, politely to decline.

    This is part of your job as a professional cricketer in the public eye. They need to understand this and behave like this, whatever has happened in the game.

    Sam taking issue with Ramps is valid, i believe.

  8.   jrod says:

    Gina, this is a love letter to the one that never knew his name, it needed a tortured ending, so we knew that Sam made a clean break and became the sane man he sometimes is today.

  9.   Markydjay says:

    Seems a bit harsh to call a nasty piece of work. A very amusingly put together and imaginative short text I thought. Top hole Sam

  10.   SixSixEight says:

    I read the comments before the article itself , players should always try to give autographs when the timing is appropriate, but retain the right to refuse politely. In London children, some quite young, can be abusive; I’m surprised players don’t refuse more, but Ramps seems to have a bit of a reputation for being rude.

    I think it is a lovely piece. It also highlights the random the way you can link with a sporting hero; a way into a sport. Sitting on the floor, watching TV [presumably not just the highlights] and finding that something.

    And that’s just not happening for Cricket anymore – unless that child is surrounded by already sports mad parents who have Sky! [And what percentage of homes with children would that be now?]

  11.   Shutts66 says:

    This is a charming and very real article. My first (and only) encounter with a young England captain was to hear a sentence containing fs and ucks and very little else. I was at a county ground and on a payphone to my mum. Crikey, a payphone. That rather dates this encounter, but only to 15 years ago. Oh well, how time flies. But like Mr Collins, the memory has stuck.

  12.   County Cricket 2009 Division 2 preview « says:

    [...] will be available throughout the season – and Grant Elliot will boost their chances of promotion. Mark Ramprakash, of course, is still there, and now that he has passed the 100 centuries milestone, his county will [...]

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