Ramprakash retires from cricket
Former England batsman Mark Ramprakash has announced his retirement from cricket after losing his place in the Surrey team.
Ramprakash refused to mourn an unfulfilled international career as he ended a cricketing odyssey spanning a quarter of a century.
The 42-year-old has retired from the game with immediate effect after being told by Surrey he no longer figured in their selection plans.
One of the most prolific and stylish batsmen in county cricket, he amassed 114 first-class centuries and 35,659 runs at an average of 53.14.
That average dropped to 27.32 during his 52 games for England, leading to the mystery of why such a gifted and technically brilliant player had struggled in the Test arena.
But Ramprakash enters retirement, announced at a press conference at The Oval on Thursday afternoon, satisfied he had given international cricket everything.
"I've been asked many time in recent years about regrets over my England career," he said.
"You do the best you can at that time. I know I couldn't have trained any harder, I listened to other people and I did the best I could at that time.
"If you've done that, then you don't look back with any regrets. I went through many ups and downs at international level, but had some highlights.
"Playing my first Test in 1991 when we beat the West Indies was one, another was here in Ashes matches.
"The best innings I ever played was here against Australia in 2001 (he scored 133). You remember any win for England."
Ramprakash's last Test was in 2002, but he was touted for a comeback in the 2009 Ashes series on the back of his prolific county form which continued into 2010.
The decline began last season, however, when he averaged 33.33 and this year he was dropped by Surrey for the first time and subsequently failed to regain his form.
Media work will keep Ramprakash in the game, while the winner of Strictly Come Dancing in 2006 may also pursue coaching.
"I had a tough start to this season, but I continued to try and remain fit and wanted to play," said Ramprakash, whose contract was due to expire in September.
"However, last week I was informed I was not in Surrey's selection plans and therefore I felt the time was right to step aside.
"It was a very difficult decision to make. I wanted to finish my career strongly and felt September would likely be the time I look to new pastures.
"But having had a tough start and being left out of the side, that brought things forward. The last thing you want is to go on too long.
"I still felt I had something to offer and I want to go out and play tonight.
"I feel I can still play at this level, but a playing contract with another county isn't really in my mind at the moment
"I'm not sure what the future holds, but professional cricket has taught me many things about life. I look forward to new opportunities.
"Coaching does interest me without doubt, I enjoy bringing young players on.
"I've done the qualifications, so coaching is an option. I hope to pursue some media work as well."
On the question of the toughest bowler he had faced, Ramprakash named four who stood out.
"I've faced spells where I've thought 'this is tough, this is really quick' - Malcolm Marshall, Allan Donald, Brett Lee and Wasim Akram," he said.
"There have been times when I thought 'I'm struggling to get a bat on this'."
Averaging 42 in 12 Tests against Australia only strengthens the enigmatic view of Ramprakash, but he remains proud of a career that began at Middlesex in 1987.
"I'd like to be remembered as someone who gave everything," he said.
"I tried to be very competitive, fight for my side and contribute. I tried to do the hard yards for my team."