Ah, the thought of seeing Ramps gracing the stage for one final shot at redemption just fills my heart up with joy!
Yes, I have to make a confession here. I am a true romantic, one of those many people like The Times’ John Woodcock, Wisden Editor Scyld Berry and many more.
Though I was a huge supporter of England during their home series against India in 2007, I kept egging on Anil Kumble to get his maiden Test century in the last test. I didn’t have cable at that time, so the only way that I could really follow the match live was through the BBC Test Match Special commentary. I literally jumped off my chair and was punching the air when the commentator said that Kumble got his century.
I did see Ramprakash dancing in Strictly Come Dancing, where he won, and it was quite amazing. One of the judges, a 50-something woman called Arlene Phillips, was unbashedly praising him to the point of making him blush! :O
That just increased my desire to see Ramps for one last time on the international stage.
However, there is a realist lurking within me who keeps saying “That guy is mentally frail, can’t really rise to the ocassion”. Though the romantic in me tries to diss him, he does realise that it’s true, and there are a number of reasons.
The first is the fact that, for most of his career, he has been playing in the second Division of the County Championship where, as many will know, the standard of bowling is not the very best in the country. A good example is Philip Hughes. He had entered the Ashes with a reputation as big as the Beatles and has now been kicked into a corner by the selectors.
He did make quite a lot of runs (averaging more than 100 in 5 or so matches, if I’m not mistaken) in the County Championship, as well as in the FP trophy matches but was found wanting against international-level bowlers.
Another point that the realist makes is that Ramps did go about 4 – 6 matches without a century when he was on 99 first-class centuries as the spotlight was firmly on him (due to the fact that he could possibly be the last member of this ‘club’). However, after he finally got the 100th hundred, he continued his run-spree, showing that pressure still does get to his head.
As I write this, first BBC and then Cricinfo say that Jonathan Trott is more likely to replace Bopara, while Bell (who’s going to make his Test Debut for the 49th time) will be pushed up to No.3, a position in which he has been an utter failure.
So there goes mine and many other people’s hopes (including that of Alec Stewart and Chris Adams) of Ramps getting a final sojourn, but it was all fun while it lasted!