Far away from the hustle and bustle of the IPL, one cricketer is on the verge of achieving immortality. Although Mark Ramprakash is of Indian origin, he has all the characteristics of an English batsman. He is technically brilliant and when he does play his strokes, he is classically correct. Above all he has been a run producing machine and his hunger for runs even at the age of 38 is humongous. Ramprakash is on the verge of perhaps becoming the last first class batsman to score a hundred first class hundreds. The British press has been showering all kinds of accolades on him calling him among other things a batting legend and a modern Bradman.
To score a hundred first class hundreds is a monumental achievement and Ramprakash deserves immense credit for the same. However a closer look at Rampraksh’s record will reveal a true story. Only two of his 98 first class hundreds have come on the test field. Unfortunately for his fan’s (and that includes me) Ramprakash has never done justice to his immense ability on the International arena. Statistics will tell you that he hasn’t played test cricket since 2001 and hardly played any test cricket between 1993 and 1997. By being away from the test scene, Ramprakash has had an extended opportunity to display his batting skills at a slightly lesser stage. That he has done an amazing job on this stage is a credit to his skills and his ability.
One wonders how many first class hundreds the likes of Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting, Dravid and the rest would have scored had they played the amount of first class cricket that the likes of Ramprakash or for that matter Graeme Hick has played.. For instance VVS Laksman scored 13 hundreds in 15 innings before being selected for being recalled to the Indian team in 2001.If he had carried on playing first class cricket he well would have been beyond the 100 mark by now.
The point that I am trying to make is that Rampraksh’s achievement, all though significant should be placed in proper perspective for it has been achieved at a lesser stage. Surely achievements at the test match level will always rank higher than any achievement at the first class level.
Ramprakash is a damn good player but he is no Bradman. Bradman is Bradman because he averaged 99 at the test level.