KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Mark Ramprakash will return to Lord's on a full time basis for the first time in 12 years after being appointed as Middlesex's batting coach on a two-year deal.
I never felt his heart left the club
Ramprakash, who retired from cricket during the 2012 season, replaces Mark O'Neill in the role and will oversee the development of Middlesex's batsmen until at least the end of the 2014 summer. After three years in the role O'Neill has chosen to remain in Australia.
Middlesex Director of Cricket Angus Fraser spoke of his delight at bringing Ramprakash back to north London.
"Mark moved from Middlesex to Surrey in 2000, but I never felt his heart left the club," said Fraser, who played with Ramprakash for both Middlesex and England.
"It is my job to provide Middlesex’s cricketers with the best possible coaching, support and advice available and in Mark they have that. His record speaks for itself, and in the past 25 years there has not been a better batsman in county cricket."
Fraser also spoke of his gratitude to O'Neill, who oversaw Middlesex's batsmen during a period when they gained promotion from Division Two of the LV= County Championship, topping the bonus points list in the division that summer. They finished third in the table and second in the batting bonus points charts in the top flight this year.
"When we employed Mark O’Neill we set the bar high as far as batting coaching at Middlesex CCC goes," Fraser added.
"He did a superb job for us and all our cricketers - young and more mature - benefitted enormously from working with him. Everyone at Middlesex CCC thanks Mark for his input during the past three years and we hope that he will stay involved with the Club in some capacity."
Hertfordshire-born Ramprakash started his career at Lord's with Middlesex as an 17-year-old in 1987, making his England debut four years later following a prolific start to his first-class career. He left for Middlesex's London rivals Surrey in 2000 after making 15,000 first-class runs at more than 50, including 46 centuries in 13 seasons.
Despite recording 52 Test caps, Ramprakash's Test career, which featured just two of his 114 first-class centuries, never fully took off and he played his last match in England colours against New Zealand in Auckland in 2002.
However, the culmination of his international career coincided with Ramprakash cementing his reputation as one of the most dominant batsmen in the history of English first-class cricket. He passed 1,000 runs in a summer for 12 consecutive seasons between 1999 and 2010 - ten of which came after his switch across London - and averaged more than 100 across an entire summer twice.
In 2012 he captained MCC in their Champion County defeat to Lancashire in Abu Dhabi but a slump in form led to his retirement.