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Duties of captaincy put end to inhibition

By Charles Randall

18 March 1998

MIKE GATTING feels that the responsibility of county captaincy has effectively forced Mark Ramprakash to develop into a batsman of England stature.

Gatting, Ramprakash's Middlesex team-mate and an England selector, said: ``The thing that has changed for Mark is that he is now batting for England as he bats for Middlesex. He has been a lot more relaxed.

``The only thing he had to conquer was tension, and he has been able to control that. He had to at Middlesex, because he was the man in charge. He had to set an example.

``I'm not surprised he has done well for England because I've sat and watched the guy bat for four or five years, and the talent is there.''

It appears that Ramprakash's renowned intensity has been diluted by captaincy at Lord's and, on his own admission, by his new status as a father busy changing Cara's nappies before the Caribbean tour began.

Two years ago Ramprakash was at his lowest ebb, talking of the ``turmoil of failure'' in his diary of England's tour to South Africa.

After his second failure of the drawn Test in Johannesburg - he was bowled twice in the match - he reflected: ``I knew that was it for the series. I was so devastated I felt I wanted to go back out, put the stumps up and take guard again. Batting is so cruel and unfair.''

Ramprakash's stock was so low that when John Crawley pulled a hamstring, England flew in Jason Gallian rather than give another chance to the Middlesex man.

Two years on, Ramprakash's fortunes have changed. Gatting did not watch him reach his triumphant first Test hundred on television. ``I didn't want to,'' he said. ``I've suffered with him enough in the past.''

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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Date-stamped : 18 Mar1998 - 11:27