Secret of my success? A winter out of the nets
Independent columnist Mark Ramprakash has been voted Player of the Year by his peers after averaging over 100 with the bat. Next he is to put on his dancing shoes...
Wednesday 27 September 2006
On Monday night I felt chuffed to bits and very proud to win the Players' Player of The Year at the Professional Cricketers' Awards in London. There were lots of people who had very good seasons so it was special to receive the accolade: Mushtaq Ahmed was outstanding for Sussex; Ian Bell hit three consecutive Test centuries, which was a magnificent feat, and John Crawley once again proved what an excellent player he is by scoring bucketloads of runs for Hampshire.
People keep asking me why I have had such an excellent season. If I knew I would have done it 15 years ago and if I could bottle it now I would.
It could come down to several things.
For the first time in my career I didn't practise during the winter and was not particularly looking forward to the season. I think it was a hangover from getting relegated from the Championship at the end of the previous year.
But what sticks in my mind from pre-season is a meeting the whole Surrey squad had back in March. We met at the Oval and we put some issues out in the open. Alan Butcher, our coach, handled things really well while we discussed what we could do better as individuals to improve the team harmony. We then went to Mumbai for a week's training and did some quality work as a group. By the first game we were all in a decent frame of mind.
We also welcomed back Mark Butcher, who had been injured, and to have him there at the helm helped me. We made the Oval our stronghold and tried to adapt better when we played away from home. We set the tone in our second match of the season with a good win away to Leicestershire.
Individually, I had an important innings in that match that kind of set me up. I got a hundred on the first day facing the bowling of Mohammed Asif and Stuart Broad on a low, slow pitch. I really had to graft and be patient. Experience helps in those situations. After that innings the next knock came easier.
Other things helped, too: It has been a cracking summer in terms of weather which helps when batting and has in turn produced good, true pitches. Also, I am now very relaxed at the crease so I use less energy and can bat for longer periods of time. It is something the Australian opener Justin Langer touched on when he hit 342 for Somerset against Surrey this season in the Championship.
Obviously, there were also times I had Lady Luck on my side; I might have nicked one and been dropped or played and missed a few times but managed to capitalise on that. As Mike Gatting used to say: get a few in the bank for a rainy day.
Gatts will be able to give me advice for my next venture, too, as believe it or not he is a competent Ballroom dancer and I am taking part in the television show Strictly Come Dancing. When I first got the call I said "No" straight away. Then the guy from the BBC said sleep on it. All I've done for 20 years is play cricket so I thought, "Why not try something different?" and hopefully I can have as much fun as Goughy did.
The year of the Ramps
Scores 2,278 first-class runs, including eight centuries, at an average of 103.54 to help Surrey win promotion.
He is only the fifth batsman to average more than 100 in an English summer. The others are Don Bradman, Geoffrey Boycott twice, Graham Gooch and Damien Martyn.
WWE Raw results: The power of the Yes! Movement dominates as Daniel Bryan eyes Wrestlemania 30 main event
Transfer news: Toni Kroos admits switch to Manchester United is 'a possibility for me'
Bayern Munich 1 Arsenal 1 player ratings: Who scored highest - Mesut Ozil or Santi Cazorla?
Bayern Munich 1 Arsenal 1 match report: German giants knock the Gunners out of the Champions League for the second successive season
Ian Wright breaks down in ITV documentary charting his rise to England and Arsenal striker
- 1 Three-quarters of Britons are saying it wrong - the top ten most common mispronunciations
- 2 Watch: The student election Macklemore parody that isn't completely awful - and all the others that are
- 3 Son attacks Apple after it refuses to unlock his late mother’s iPad
- 4 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 5 First Kiss: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate