A county in crisis September 24, 2008

Ramprakash hints he might move on from Surrey

Cricinfo staff


Mark Ramprakash: 'I have a year left on my contract and I don't really want to finish my career in Division Two' © Getty Images
 
Mark Ramprakash has dropped hints that he might not stay at Surrey after 2009 if things don't change. The county were relegated from Division One of the County Championship after finishing the season without a win.

In his column in the Daily Telegraph, Ramprakash said that the departure of coach Alan Butcher earlier this week had left a void at The Oval and he was waiting to see how it was filled.

"I have a year left on my contract and I don't really want to finish my career in Division Two," he wrote. "I feel pretty good physically and I'm confident I can play for another three years but a lot of things go into the mix - motivation, enjoyment of the game and wanting to be part of something good. At the moment it is a case of waiting to see who is going to replace Alan and what their vision is for the club."

Ramprakash was stand-in captain for most of the summer after Mark Butcher was sidelined from June with a knee injury, but he uses his column to make clear that he was not at the heart of many decisions. "Right from the very beginning I said I was happy to carry out the orders on the field but I was conscious that I was a stand-in captain and that it was not my show. Policy and selection was still down to the coach and Mark Butcher. At the end of the day you can only take things so far."

If Ramprakash wants to carry on for another three years, it is clear he wants to do so in the top flight of the domestic game. If that isn't with Surrey, then it seems increasingly clear he will consider moving on.

His contract is up at the end of 2009, leaving him free to look at other options. Even though he will be 40 by then, his continuing excellent form - he again topped 1000 runs and averaged 61.25 in 2008 - would make an attractive, if expensive, prospect for a number of counties.

The news will raise a few wry smiles at his previous county, Middlesex, who he left at the end of his benefit year because he believed that Division Two cricket would harm his England ambitions.

Ramprakash also admitted that things haven't been right at Surrey for some time. "If you look at the past five years then you can see we have been a side in transition and not realistic title contenders. In 2004 we narrowly avoided relegation, we went down in 2005, were promoted in 2006 but the following summer we occupied one of the bottom two spots until the final two weeks of the season."

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