Strictly Me, by Mark Ramprakash

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The Independent Culture

His transformation from Test has-been as a cricketer to national heart-throb as a ballroom dancer came as a pleasant surprise to Mark Ramprakash.

Tellingly, his book is subtitled "My life under the spotlight"; as a player he sometimes seemed to freeze in that spotlight; his satisfaction at channelling the nervous intensity that often hindered his England career into success in a very different field of competition shines through.

Most autobiographies are to some extent acts of self-justification, and this is no exception. But his judgements seem fair: he is not slow to criticise players and coaches but he also gives credit were he feels it is due and does not shrink from addressing his own shortcomings. He tackles his reputation as a "bottler" head on, and his account of his "divorce" (his word) from Middlesex after 13 years and his glorious late flowering with Surrey sheds light behind the scenes of the county game.

Not content with reaching 100 centuries, this honest, complex man, now 40, feels he has at least a couple more seasons in him. Let's enjoy him while we can.

Published in hardback by Mainstream, £18.99

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