Tag Archives: middlesex

Steven Finn Watford football shirt

Finn when you're winning! England cricket star pays tribute to hometown club Watford on tour in New Zealand

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

00:50 GMT, 1 March 2013

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UPDATED:

08:09 GMT, 1 March 2013

Steven Finn can be forgiven for smiling.

Things have been going pretty well for the England bowler of late.

Not only has he forged a reputation for himself as one of the most feared pacemen in world cricket, but his beloved Watford are closing in on promotion back to the Barclays Premier League.

Golden boy: Finn proudly shows off his Watford shirt in Queenstown

Golden boy: Finn proudly shows off his Watford shirt in Queenstown

Finn, born and bred in the Hertfordshire town, has made no secret of his love for his hometown club and he proudly tweeted this picture of himself with a Hornets shirt with his name on the back while on tour with England in Queenstown, New Zealand.

The 23-year-old has been rested for
England's only warm-up match before the three-Test series starting next
week in Dunedin, where Finn is almost certain to join James Anderson and
Stuart Broad in England's pace attack.

By
then Watford, currently second in the Championship, could have moved another step closer to the
Premier League with fixtures against Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday
coming up.

Flying Finn: The Middlesex seamer starred in the ODI series and is expected to play a key role in the Tests

Flying Finn: The Middlesex seamer starred in the ODI series and is expected to play a key role in the Tests

Flying Finn: The Middlesex seamer starred in the ODI series and is expected to play a key role in the Tests

Mark Ramprakash named Middlesex batting coach

England old boy Ramprakash named Middlesex batting coach

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UPDATED:

18:58 GMT, 19 December 2012

Former England batsman Mark Ramprakash has been appointed batting coach at Middlesex for the next two years.

Ramprakash, 43, retired from playing in July after losing his place in the Surrey team following a lean spell of form and takes up the coaching post with the county that gave him his break in cricket.

He played for Middlesex from 1987 to 2000 and had a period as captain, before moving across London to join Surrey.

All smiles: Ramprakash has been appointed batting coach at Middlesex

All smiles: Ramprakash has been appointed batting coach at Middlesex

During his spell at The Oval he passed the career landmark of 100 first-class centuries, reaching 114 in total.

Ramprakash also recently agreed to take on a two-year consultancy with the England and Wales Cricket Board as a batting coach and has been in India with the England Lions.

End of the road: Ramprakash retired earlier this year

End of the road: Ramprakash retired earlier this year

Middlesex are relishing his return to Lord's, with his former county and international team-mate Angus Fraser, now Middlesex's director of cricket, saying: 'I am thrilled to have Mark back at Middlesex CCC.

'It is my job to provide Middlesex's cricketers with the best possible coaching, support and advice available and in Mark Ramprakash they have that.'

Ramprakash takes over from Australian Mark O'Neill, who announced last month he was leaving Middlesex after a three-year stint.

Fraser said: 'Mark Ramprakash will offer our batsmen something different. His record speaks for itself and in the past 25 years there has not been a better batsman in county cricket.

'Mark moved from Middlesex to Surrey in 2000, but I never felt his heart left the club.' Ramprakash said: 'Middlesex is the club that gave me the chance to achieve what I have in cricket and I am delighted to be able to return to work with and help the current and next generation of Middlesex cricketers.

'I am excited by the talent in the current crop of players and look forward to contributing to the club.'

EXCLUSIVE: Stuart Broad"s heel injury could scupper England"s hopes in India

EXCLUSIVE: Broad's heel injury could scupper England's chances in India Test series

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 10 November 2012

England expect to discover on Saturday whether fast bowler Stuart Broad will be fit for the opening Test against India this week – or if injury will force him out of the opening two Tests at least.

After Broad's involvement in the second warm-up match of the tour against Mumbai A was cut short last week, England's management denied that they were concerned about his fitness for the series.

And even after a scan showed he had a bruised left heel, they continued to insist the problem was no more serious than a 'fast bowler's niggle' and that he was not a doubt for the first Test, which starts in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

All smiles: Stuart Broad's injured heel could cause England's vicecaptain to miss the first two Tests in India

All smiles: Stuart Broad's injured heel could cause England's vicecaptain to miss the first two Tests in India

But while Steven Finn's thigh strain, suffered on day one of the tour against India A, has healed well enough for the Middlesex giant to be in genuine contention, concerns are growing over Broad, who was appointed England's vicecaptain at the start of the tour to new leader Alastair Cook.

Stuart Meaker, called up for the first Test as cover for Finn, said: 'Looking at how Steven Finn is going, he's getting closer and closer to being ready.'

England's original rehabilitation plan for Broad was that he would sit out the final warm-up match in Haryana, completed on Friday, then test his fitness in the nets on Sunday with a view to playing in the Test three days later.

Sources within the coaching staff suggested on Friday that Finn had a better chance of playing than Broad but on Friday a team spokesman suggested that the latter might not bowl until Tuesday.

That fuelled fears that the first Test is too soon to risk him and put a question-mark over his participation in the second, starting in Mumbai on November 23.

The only cure for a bruised heel is rest, depending on the severity of the injury, for a minimum of two weeks.

In contention: Steven Finn has healed well from a thigh strain

In contention: Steven Finn has healed well from a thigh strain

That could even rule Broad out for the first half of the four-match series, with no practice match scheduled between the second Test in Mumbai and the third in Kolkata to prove his fitness in match conditions.

If Broad is not completely fit, he could play on Thursday only after an injection or relying on painkillers, but England will be aware that the effect of such action might put him at risk for the rest of the tour.

Broad is considered vital to England's chance of victory on the Sub-continent for the first time in nearly 30 years, since David Gower's side won 2-1 in 1984- 85.

Despite criticism for what some perceived as a dip in speed and penetration during the summer, the 26-year-old paceman arrived in India as the leading Test wicket-taker in world cricket for 2012.

Vital: Broad's contribution is considered essential if England are to succeed in India

Vital: Broad's contribution is considered essential if England are to succeed in India

Forty scalps in nine matches, against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and South Africa, put him one ahead of Vernon Philander, Saeed Ajmal, Kemar Roach and Graeme Swann and 13 ahead of Dale Steyn, considered the most dangerous quickie on the planet.

If India want reminding of his threat, they need only recall his man-of-the-series performance against them during England's 4-0 win on home soil last year.

His 25 wickets at 13.84 included 7-94 and 8-76 at Trent Bridge, featuring the first Test hat-trick on that ground, and fuelled England's drive to the top of the ICC world rankings.

Broad also showed his ability to take wickets in seemingly placid batting conditions by taking 13 against Pakistan in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in January.

Steve Finn injured his thigh playing for England against India A

England wait on Finn injury as bowler injures his thigh in warm-up game

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UPDATED:

23:42 GMT, 30 October 2012

Steven Finn had a scan on his right thigh on Tuesday night as England suffered an early injury scare on their tour of India.

The Middlesex fast bowler completed only four overs on the first morning of England’s tour opener against India A in Mumbai before indicating he felt unable to continue because of a niggle picked up in the field.

Finn, an integral part of England’s plans to hit India hard on their docile pitches, left the

Brabourne Stadium before the end of play to go back to the team hotel for the scan, the results of which were last night being examined in England.

Concern: Finn pulled up with a thigh injury

Concern: Finn pulled up with a thigh injury

‘We’re disappointed one of our fast bowlers had to go off,’ said Tim Bresnan, Finn’s main rival for a Test place who ended up bowling 20 overs on a hot day in the field.

‘It’s one of those things where you just have to step up a bit, and each of you has to take on his responsibility. We don’t know much about his injury. All we know is, it’s hurting.’

Taking a break: Steven Finn has a drink during the first days play

Taking a break: Steven Finn has a drink during the first days play

The International Cricket Council has given the go-ahead for teams to stage Test cricket under floodlights, pending the agreement of both competing nations on the hours of play and the brand of ball to be used.

The game’s governing body are concerned that cricket’s longest format is losing out to the more spectator-friendly Twenty20, but the England and Wales Cricket Board are lukewarm about the proposal. England is rare in packing out home matches, with more than 1.65million spectators attending games across the three formats in the past two summers.

There are also concerns about the effects of the British climate on day-night Test matches.

US Open 2012: Laura Robson spotted by Jo Durie at age 10

Robson a big hit with Durie! Former British star saw Laura's potential at age 10

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 3 September 2012

Jo Durie well recalls first encountering a 10-year-old Laura Robson and the immediate impression she made when they got on a practice court together.

Brought along by her mother, Kathy, for a try-out with former world No 5 Durie and her long-time coaching partner Alan Jones, something stood out from the other girls they were working with.

‘Straightaway you could tell she hit the ball really well. A lot of the time it went into the back fence but there was an unusual sense of timing,’ said Durie, who helped guide her for two years.

Bright future: Laura Robson enjoyed a fine run to the US Open fourth round

Bright future: Laura Robson enjoyed a fine run to the US Open fourth round

‘I remember her losing in the first round of the national Under 12 championships. We asked her and Kathy afterwards if she wanted to win Under 12 titles just by making fewer mistakes than her opponent or end up being good at 18 by learning to hit the ball properly and hard and lose a few more matches than might be expected.’

Sensible words, as by taking the latter course Robson is comfortably the best 18-year-old in the world. After reaching the fourth round of the US Open she is the best equipped home-produced player to emulate Durie, who in the mid-Eighties was the last British woman to reach the quarter and semi-finals of Grand Slams.

Robson was really not far off beating Samantha Stosur before losing 6-4, 6-4 late on Sunday. With a little more composure at junctures such as two break points at 4-4 in the first set, she could have been in the last eight.

Power games: Robson already has formidable weapons in her arsenal

Power games: Robson already has formidable weapons in her arsenal

Durie, who is still working to produce the next generation at her academy in Northwood, Middlesex, knows there is more to come from Robson.

‘It is exciting because there is still a lot of improving to do,’ said Durie. ‘The best thing about her in New York has been her willingness to run and chase. Ultimately it has to come from the player. It’s obvious how well she hits the ball.

‘She has also got to improve the consistency on her serve, which can be a big weapon but a bit horrible at other times.

Blast from the past: Brit favourite Jo Durie

Blast from the past: Brit favourite Jo Durie

‘When you look at some of the players who have got into the top 10, you would ask why shouldn’t she Providing she works hard, she will make the top 20, but after that it is not easy to tell. Some things can only come from the player.’

Robson, who has clothing and equipment contracts with adidas and Wilson respectively, is quite a potential commodity when you consider what the likes of Jessica Ennis have earned this year. While London 2012 was a one-off springboard for Ennis, tennis is an almost year-round showcase that includes Britain’s biggest annual sports event.

It is conceivable Robson will do extremely well at Wimbledon in the coming years as her game is perfectly suited to grass. She loves the ball coming at her relatively low and at pace while a left-handed serve that is already clocking 112mph should develop into a considerable asset. Those are attributes which caused Murray to pick her as his Olympic mixed doubles partner.

Murray collects about 2million a year for his clothing deal alone so it is not hard to see how Robson, blessed with looks and intelligence, will fare in the market if she continues to deliver on the promise of the Wimbledon junior title she won at 14.

After food poisoning interrupted her promised retail therapy in Manhattan on Monday she will head home before going to Asia for a series of WTA Tour events before the season rounds off in Europe.

Paralympics 2012: Natasha Baker enjoys early dressage success at Greenwich Park

Baker off to brilliant start in Greenwich with highest score in Grade II team dressage

By
Sportsmail Reporter

PUBLISHED:

10:18 GMT, 30 August 2012

|

UPDATED:

10:19 GMT, 30 August 2012

Natasha Baker proved a class apart on her Paralympics debut at Greenwich Park.

The 22-year-old, from Uxbridge in Middlesex, posted comfortably the highest dressage score during Thursday morning's opening session in Grade II of the team competition.

Although Baker is riding only as an individual, her score of 76.095 per cent aboard Cabral proved ideal preparation for her Games campaign.

Great start: Britain's Natasha Baker celebrates at the end of her high-scoring round in the dressage individual team test

Great start: Britain's Natasha Baker celebrates at the end of her high-scoring round in the dressage individual team test

She will contest individual medals on Saturday and next Monday, when she hopes to repeat her double European gold from last year.

'That was the best experience of my entire life,' Baker said.

'I woke up this morning and I was fine, but on the bus here I was thinking 'this is actually happening' and reality sunk in a little bit.

'I knew that I had to be calm, cool and collected and get the horse through the test, but he was so good – I am so proud of him.

Up and running: Greenwich Park hosted its opening Paralympics event on Thursday morning

Up and running: Greenwich Park hosted its opening Paralympics event on Thursday morning

'He coped so well with it. We came back with two gold medals from the Europeans in Belgium last year, so to come here with that level of expectation I was a bit nervous.

'He could have gone into the arena and really thought he didn't like it, so I had no inkling what he was going to be like. For him to do that well, I couldn't be more proud of him.'

Baker, who contracted transverse myelitis (inflammation of the spine) when she was a child, is one of British dressage's rising stars.

And despite difficult conditions of driving rain for her test, she delivered a stylish performance as the dressage competition got under way.

Fan-tastic: Elsewhere, A Games Maker welcomes crowds arriving on day one at the Olympic Park in Stratford

Fan-tastic: Elsewhere, a Games Maker welcomes crowds arriving on day one at the Olympic Park in Stratford as Dutch supporters (below) descend on east London

The future's bright: Dutch fans arrive at the Olympic Park for the opening day of the Paralympics

'It sets me up really nicely for Saturday,' Baker added.

'I am just so excited to be here and be part of this amazing event. I'm speechless, really, and that doesn't happy very often!'
Ireland's first team rider Eilish Byrne scored a solid 67.714 per cent with Youri, although she felt the performance was slightly below par.

'Youri was a little tense and I struggled to keep him relaxed. Our score was a little lower than usual,' she said.

Andrew Strauss quits as England captain and retires from cricket

Strauss quits: KP saga proves final straw with Cook unveiled as successor

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UPDATED:

11:09 GMT, 29 August 2012

Andrew Strauss has announced his retirement from professional cricket with immediate effect, with Alastair Cook replacing him as England's Test captain.

In and ECB statement released on Wednesday, Strauss explained: 'After much thought over the last few weeks, I have decided to step down as England Test Captain and announce my retirement from all forms of cricket. It has clearly been a tough decision to make, but I believe that it is both in the best interests of the England cricket team and myself to step down at this stage.'

End of the road: Andrew Strauss has ended his international career

End of the road: Andrew Strauss has ended his international career

Captain's log…

2009
West Indies (away) – lost 1-0
West Indies (home) – won 2-0
Australia (home) – won 2-1

2009-2010
South Africa (away) – drawn 1-1

2010
Bangladesh (home) – won 2-0
Pakistan (home) – won 3-1

2010-2011
Australia (away) – won 3-1

2011
Sri Lanka (home) – won 1-0
India (home) – won 4-0

2011-2012
Pakistan (in UAE) – lost 3-0
Sri Lanka (away) – drawn 1-1

2012
West Indies (home) – won 2-0
South Africa (home) – lost 2-0

In a press conference at Lord's on Wednesday Strauss said that the 'driving force' behind his decision has his poor form with the bat, while he also revealed that he had been considering quitting for 'six to 12 months'.

Strauss has just returned from a family
holiday in Spain in the aftermath of England’s Test defeat by South
Africa and he has decided the time is right to end his career after 100
Tests.

Strauss was due to play for Middlesex
at Worcester on Tuesday but pulled out late on Monday night and spent
the day in meetings at Lord’s.

That gave rise to suggestions that he
was discussing the best way forward in the Kevin Pietersen affair but
it emerged that Strauss’s own future was on the agenda.

The controversial text messages that threaten to end Pietersen's international career reportedly contained a vile four-letter attack on Strauss.

At least one text – sent by the South African-born England batsman to opposing South African players – referred to Strauss as a 'doos'. In Afrikaans the word literally means 'box', but it has a slang application of 'dumb c***'.

When asked if the Pietersen saga had influenced his decision, Strauss simply said: 'No, not all.'

Strauss, 35, has had a dismal time
with the bat that was barely eased by his two centuries against West
Indies earlier this summer and he ended the 2-0 loss to South Africa
without a half-century in the three Tests.

The Middlesex man looked drained
after the third Test defeat at Lord’s and said he needed time with his
family to think about England’s future.

Ashes glory: England celebrate winning Down Under in 2011

Ashes glory: England celebrate winning Down Under in 2011

Ashes glory: England celebrate winning Down Under in 2011

At the time there were reassuring
noises from Lord’s that all Strauss needed was a break and that he would
return refreshed to start plotting the route ahead towards next year’s
back-to-back Ashes series.

Yet clearly he has been wearied by
the Pietersen affair and his own lack of runs, and he has decided enough is enough.

Saga: Strauss and Kevin Pietersen (above left) have dominated the headlines of late

Saga: Strauss and Kevin Pietersen (above left) have dominated the headlines of late

Saga: Strauss and Kevin Pietersen (above left) have dominated the headlines of late

The news will come as a blow to Andy
Flower, who has worked brilliantly in partnership with Strauss, and the
England players who hold their captain in the highest regard.

There is no suggestion that there has
been any pressure placed on Strauss to stand down by the ECB because he
has earned enough credit in winning home and away Ashes series to
decide when he should go.

Debut ton: Strauss celebrates his century at Lord's in 2003

Debut ton: Strauss celebrates his century at Lord's in 2003

Strauss and Flower led England to the
top of the Test world last summer with their 4-0 victory over India but
since then they have lost six of their 11 Tests and with them the top
spot.

Strauss' place in history as one of
England’s most successful captains is assured. Not only has he won the
Ashes home and away but he has also scored 21 Test centuries, one short
of the England record.

No 1: England spent just a year on top of the world Test rankings

No 1: England spent just a year on top of the world Test rankings

No 1: England spent just a year on top of the world Test rankings

Where this leaves Pietersen remains
to be seen. He has undoubtedly contributed to the captain’s sense of
uncertainty by sending those ‘provocative’ texts to South African
players in which he criticised Strauss.

England are looking for a quick
resolution of their maverick batsman’s future and must decide whether to
offer him a central contract in the next two weeks.

Yet the strong feelings of the team
against Pietersen will not diminish if they think he may have played any
part in hastening Strauss towards the exit.

Andrew Strauss set to quit as England captain

Strauss on the brink of quitting as England captain in aftermath of Pietersen text storm

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UPDATED:

07:15 GMT, 29 August 2012

Andrew Strauss’s future is clouded in uncertainty as speculation grows that he is about to resign as England captain and give up international cricket.

Strauss has just returned from a family holiday in Spain in the aftermath of England’s Test defeat by South Africa and it is believed he has decided the time is right to end his career after 100 Tests.

The ECB announced that Giles Clarke,
their chairman, and managing director of the England team Hugh Morris
will stage press conferences at Lord’s and Derby on Wednesday.

It will be a huge surprise if they are not there to pay tribute to a good captain and an excellent man.

He was due to play for Middlesex at Worcester on Tuesday but pulled out late on Monday night and spent the day in meetings at Lord’s.

End of the road: Andrew Strauss looks set to end his international career

End of the road: Andrew Strauss looks set to end his international career

That gave rise to suggestions that he was discussing the best way forward in the Kevin Pietersen affair but it emerged that Strauss’s own future was on the agenda.

The 35-year-old has had a dismal time with the bat that was barely eased by his two centuries against West Indies earlier this summer and he ended the 2-0 loss to South Africa without a half-century in the three Tests.

The Middlesex man looked drained after the third Test defeat at Lord’s and said he needed time with his family to think about England’s future.

At the time there were reassuring noises from Lord’s that all Strauss needed was a break and that he would return refreshed to start plotting the route ahead towards next year’s back-to-back Ashes series.

Yet clearly he has been wearied by the Pietersen affair and his own lack of runs, and the indications are that he has decided enough is enough.

The news will come as a blow to Andy Flower, who has worked brilliantly in partnership with Strauss, and the England players who hold their captain in the highest regard.

Things to ponder: Strauss saw England lose their No 1 Test status to South Africa

Things to ponder: Strauss saw England lose their No 1 Test status to South Africa

There is no suggestion that there has been any pressure placed on Strauss to stand down by the ECB because he has earned enough credit in winning home and away Ashes series to decide when he should go.

Strauss and Flower led England to the top of the Test world last summer with their 4-0 victory over India but since then they have lost six of their 11 Tests and with them the top spot.

Alastair Cook has proved a successful captain of the one-day side and his elevation will be automatic once Strauss has made his call.

With Strauss’s resignation will also come his retirement from international cricket because it is virtually certain he will not follow Nasser Hussain in playing on once he steps down as captain.

Happier days: Strauss with the England team after they were crowned world No 1 last summer

Happier days: Strauss with the England team after they were crowned world No 1 last summer

Whether Strauss carries on with Middlesex remains to be seen but his place in history as one of England’s most successful captains is assured. Not only has he won the Ashes home and away but he has also scored 21 Test centuries, one short of the England record.

Where this leaves Pietersen remains to be seen. He has undoubtedly contributed to the captain’s sense of uncertainty by sending those ‘provocative’ texts to South African players in which he criticised Strauss.

England are looking for a quick resolution of their maverick batsman’s future and must decide whether to offer him a central contract in the next two weeks.

Yet the strong feelings of the team against Pietersen will not diminish if they think he may have played any part in hastening Strauss towards the exit.

Andrew Strauss future in Test cricket in doubt

Strauss on the brink of quitting: England captain set to call time on career

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UPDATED:

00:12 GMT, 29 August 2012

Andrew Strauss’s future was clouded in uncertainty on Tuesday night as speculation grew that he is about to resign as England captain and give up international cricket.

Strauss has just returned from a family holiday in Spain in the aftermath of England’s Test defeat by South Africa and it is believed he has decided the time is right to end his career after 100 Tests.

He was due to play for Middlesex at Worcester on Tuesday but pulled out late on Monday night and spent the day in meetings at Lord’s.

End of the road: Andrew Strauss looks set to end his international career

End of the road: Andrew Strauss looks set to end his international career

That gave rise to suggestions that he was discussing the best way forward in the Kevin Pietersen affair but it emerged last night that Strauss’s own future was on the agenda.

The 35-year-old has had a dismal time with the bat that was barely eased by his two centuries against West Indies earlier this summer and he ended the 2-0 loss to South Africa without a half-century in the three Tests.

The Middlesex man looked drained after the third Test defeat at Lord’s and said he needed time with his family to think about England’s future. At the time there were reassuring noises from Lord’s that all Strauss needed was a break and that he would return refreshed to start plotting the route ahead towards next year’s back-to-back Ashes series.

Yet clearly he has been wearied by the Pietersen affair and his own lack of runs, and the indications are that he has decided enough is enough. The news will come as a blow to Andy Flower, who has worked brilliantly in partnership with Strauss, and the England players who hold their captain in the highest regard.

Things to ponder: Strauss saw England lose their No 1 Test status to South Africa

Things to ponder: Strauss saw England lose their No 1 Test status to South Africa

There is no suggestion that there has been any pressure placed on Strauss to stand down by the ECB because he has earned enough credit in winning home and away Ashes series to decide when he should go.

Strauss and Flower led England to the top of the Test world last summer with their 4-0 victory over India but since then they have lost six of their 11 Tests and with them the top spot.

Alastair Cook has proved a successful captain of the one-day side and his elevation will be automatic once Strauss has made his call.

With Strauss’s resignation will also come his retirement from international cricket because it is virtually certain he will not follow Nasser Hussain in playing on once he steps down as captain.

Happier days: Strauss with the England team after they were crowned world No 1 last summer

Happier days: Strauss with the England team after they were crowned world No 1 last summer

Whether Strauss carries on with Middlesex remains to be seen but his place in history as one of England’s most successful captains is assured. Not only has he won the Ashes home and away but he has also scored 21 Test centuries, one short of the England record.

Where this leaves Pietersen remains to be seen. He has undoubtedly contributed to the captain’s sense of uncertainty by sending those ‘provocative’ texts to South African players in which he criticised Strauss.

England are looking for a quick resolution of their maverick batsman’s future and must decide whether to offer him a central contract in the next two weeks.

Yet the strong feelings of the team against Pietersen will not diminish if they think he may have played any part in hastening Strauss towards the exit.

The ECB last night announced that Giles Clarke, their chairman, and managing director of the England team Hugh Morris will today stage press conferences at Lord’s and Derby.

It will be a huge surprise if they are not there to pay tribute to a good captain and an excellent man.

Cricket will miss Mark Ramprakash

After 114 centuries and an average of 53… the purists will certainly miss Ramps

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UPDATED:

22:09 GMT, 6 July 2012

It is more than a decade now since Mark Ramprakash’s England career came to a low-key end, bowled for two by New Zealand’s Daryl Tuffey on an Auckland minefield.

Between that damp squib in April 2002 and the announcement, two days ago, of his retirement from all cricket at the grand old age of 42, Ramprakash uncomplainingly turned himself into the greatest domestic run-machine of the modern era.

And if those 10 years seemed a long time for county bowlers, who may occasionally have felt like members of an audience at a one-man play that was part-history and part-tragedy (but rarely comedy), then the interim also gave Ramprakash the chance to mull it all over.

A cut above: Ramprakash batting in 1990

A cut above: Ramprakash batting in 1990

RAMPS THE RUN MACHINE

1987-2000 – Middlesex, 2001-12 – Surrey

461 first class appearances, 35,659 runs (average 53.14), best score=301no

52 tests for England, 92 innings, 2350 runs, average 27.32, best score=154

18 ODIs for England, 376 runs, 26.85 average, best score=51

114 first class centuries

63 T20s, 1719 runs, average 32.43, best score=85no

407 List A games, 13,273 runs

Just how did a man who finished with 114 first-class centuries and had merry fun at an average of 53 never quite crack it at Test level

‘All top sportsmen look first at what they could have done,’ Ramprakash told Sportsmail. ‘I know that I had opportunities and I didn’t take them often enough.’

As self-assessments go, it is harsh but fair. In 52 Tests, he managed two hundreds and 12 fifties, and finished with an average of 27.32 — fractionally less than England’s current No 9 Stuart Broad.

It was as if there were two Ramprakashes: the relaxed, nimble slayer of county attacks and the insecure fretter of the Test arena.

During one game on that farewell tour of New Zealand, coach Duncan Fletcher told Ramprakash he’d be spared having to bat that evening: England would use a nightwatchman.

‘I swear that I have never seen a more relieved cricketer in my life,’ wrote Fletcher. ‘His appointment with hell had been postponed.’

To his credit, Ramprakash refuses to talk in terms of regret, for — as he knows — that way madness lies. But his more mature self can see things differently. ‘Without a doubt,’ he said. ‘If I’d known then what I know now, of course, of course…’

Century man: Ramprakash celebates scoring his first ever international Hundred against the West Indies in Barbados

Century man: Ramprakash celebates scoring his first ever international Hundred against the West Indies in Barbados

He explains: ‘I think one thing I got a lot better at in my 30s was seeing the big picture and being a bit more open to other things off the field, having a bit more of a relaxed approach, which helps your game. I was so focused and had tunnel vision. I’ve dealt with those things a lot better in the second half of my career,’ he said.

And yet the famed intensity of his early phase was never likely to mellow in the England dressing room.

The 1990s was the era of chop and change, short-term fixes and long-term chaos. In Test cricket, Ramprakash filled every slot from Nos 2-7; in 92 innings, he never batted for more than seven consecutively in any one position.

The effect was dizzying — never more so than when he was asked to open against Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose in 2000. ‘I found that decision a little bit strange,’ he said. ‘I hadn’t opened at county level or, indeed, ever. But you do it because you get the opportunity.’

Champagne moment: Ramprakash sprays the crowd with champagne watched by Mark Butcher after England won the fourth Test at Trent Bridge against South Africa in 1998

Champagne moment: Ramprakash sprays the crowd with champagne watched by Mark Butcher after England won the fourth Test at Trent Bridge against South Africa in 1998

Ramprakash made 20 runs in two Tests — and was dropped. But the nadir had come the previous year. Ramprakash remembered: ‘The Australia tour had gone very well for me in 1998-99 and then we came home and got beaten by New Zealand. I didn’t play well.

‘We played two games and we were going up to Old Trafford and chairman of selectors David Graveney said I was going to be dropped.

‘I said, “Well, I’ve just been interviewed for the England captaincy, I’ve just scored nearly 1,000 runs in a calendar year and two games later you’re going to drop me.”

‘I think that’s probably the best example I can give you of what life was like in the 1990s and how a player would always feel on trial.

Going strong: Ramprakash celebrates scoring a century for Surrey in 2007

Going strong: Ramprakash celebrates scoring a century for Surrey in 2007

‘I didn’t find it easy just to say, “Well, let me put that to one side and let me go out and enjoy a game of cricket”. Other players did that very well, but I didn’t find that easy.’

The experience undid the good work of his maiden Test hundred, a superb 154 in Barbados in 1998, when Ramprakash enacted some helpful advice he’d received from England’s psychologist Steve Bull.

‘It’s hard, perhaps, for people to understand but when you’re walking out to bat in a Test match, you’ve got so many things going on in your mind other than watching the ball.

‘If it’s at Lord’s, you’re thinking, “Where are my family, are they OK, what are they up to” I think we uncluttered my mind a little bit and got me thinking about enjoying the game — it’s a game of cricket, enjoy the challenge.’

When England’s patience finally ran out in 2002, Ramprakash committed himself to enjoying the challenge at county level. And between then and his retirement he scored an astonishing 58 first-class hundreds.

Despite his struggles this summer, he desperately wanted to play on for Surrey until his contract expired in September and help the team cope with the trauma of Tom Maynard’s tragic death and captain Rory Hamilton-Brown taking a break.

End of the roadL Ramprakash announced his retirement from professional cricket this month

End of the roadL Ramprakash announced his retirement from professional cricket this month

‘I felt strongly that, surely, this is a time when senior players start to help, when the captain is not there, when you draw upon core players,’ he said. ‘I was very keen to do that, but the decision was made.’

So, can there be another Ramps, a player dedicated enough to have a 25-year first-class career and leave youngsters in his wake

He said: ‘If someone has the hunger, the love of the game, the passion, the professionalism, they can play for a long time. Players look after themselves a lot more than they used to. So why not’

Clearly, his modesty has remained intact. He will be missed in more ways than one.