There's a nice piece with Mark Ramprakash in the new All Out Cricket. It's a simple idea: he was asked for 10 definitive moments from his career, and the results are short but sweet, or rather bittersweet, as things with Ramps usually are.
His final choice is his hundredth hundred, in 2008 against Yorkshire. 'There was a Test match on at the time and we were batting out a draw, so it was pretty low-key,' he says. 'Having said that, I was captain, Goughie was captain of Yorkshire and my parents came to watch, which was nice in terms of emotion. I'm in no way complacent about the achievement; I'm chuffed to bits and incredibly grateful to have had a long career but I know that only two of those hundreds are Test hundreds. When you look at the other players on that list, they're all great international players so my emotions relating to this achievement are qualified'.
He catches, in that brief paragraph, almost everything that make make him the figure that he is, the brooding symbol of an era. How much remorse echoes behind the words 'there was a Test match on at the time' - with its unspoken implication that he wasn't playing in it. Then the achknowlegement of a small group of people present who'd grasp exactly what he was feeling.
There's a tremendous wistfulness to his ambivalence, and it's gently heartbreaking that he doesn't feel worthy of his place on the list. He is. There may be only two Test hundreds, but they were high-quality ones, and there are few bowlers in the game that he hasn't bested sometime, somewhere. To put the achievement in context, Andrew Strauss made a hundred against Sri Lanka at the weekend. It was the 36th of his career. Ramprakash has been a phenomenon, and the rest is just life and its way.
NB: He also tells a good story about Dominic Cork selling him a bat for fifty quid. He got almost two thousand runs in a season with it. Corky's probably still got the fifty sheets, too...
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