Daily Archives: June 1, 2008

Ramps stalls close to the finish line

Well, the photographers can put away their 40mm lenses, sports editors can relax and the eulogies can wait: Mark Ramprakash has failed in his latest attempt to reach 100 hundreds, dismissed for only 15 on the third day of Surrey’s match against Somerset at Whitgift School. Since scoring his 99th century against Sussex at the beginning of May, Ramps has hit a poor vein of form that has brought him  just over 100 runs – 103 to be exact – in six innings. Now, with his latest failure, he will not have the opportunity to reach his particular milestone for another month – when Surrey take on Kent at the Oval. So, perhaps as he hovers on the edge of a great accomplishment, the pressure is getting to him. In which case, the break for the mindless madness of the Twenty20 may be just what he needs to clear his thoughts and rediscover his scoring touch. Let’s hope so, or a lot of journalistic man hours are going to be wasted over the course of the season. 

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Well done Punter, next stop Kallis – maybe

Pity poor Ricky Ponting. He really should employ the same scriptwriter as Shane Warne. When Warney was nearing the mammoth mark of 700 wickets, it was ordained that it should come at his home ground the MCG, in front of 98,000 people, against the old enemy England, and on the Boxing Day of the much heralded Boxing Day Test. When Punter came to reach the mark of 10,000 runs, the second fastest man to reach the milestone, it was ordained that he should achieve it in the cavernous Viv Richards stadium, somewhere in the middle of Antigua, at a game which attracted probably only about one-hundredth of those who witnessed Warne’s moment. Whether it was just false modesty or that individual landmarks are less important to him than the team ethos, Ponting seemed not to have noticed when he scored the crucial run.

One man who, if the general consensus of his personality is accurate, should notice when he reaches the same landmark, and one who should do it in front of a much bigger, if not necessarily more appreciative crowd, is the one next in line, South Africa’s Jacques Kallis. Kallis, at present on 9,657 runs, needs only another 343 if my maths is right, to become the third man to reach the landmark against England, after Brian Lara and Steve Waugh. Chances are, as long as his team doesn’t beat England by an innings in any of their four Tests this summer, he will reach 10,000 runs at the Oval, which would give a nice sense of symmetry to an international career that started against us at Durban in 1995, if inauspiciously – he scored only one, a victim of Lancashire’s Peter Martin, as barely two innings were completed in a match soured by persistent drizzle. I should know, I was there, sitting in a soulless hotel for the three days that were almost completely washed out. 

However, there are some statistics at work that suggest Kallis will have to improve on his performances over here if he wants a final day standing ovation in front of the gasometers. While his overall Test average, 57.14, would indicate that six of a possible eight innings should be enough for him, his stats against England, and in England, reveal a need for improvement: an average of 47.06 falls to 37.07 over here and, if he fails to increase that, he would, by my reckoning, fall about 46 runs short.

Then, a sorry fate would await him: completing his 10,000 in front of those South African who bother to turn out for the two Tests in November against Bangladesh. It makes Ponting’s moment seem quite glamorous in comparison.

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