Ramprakash batting role confirmed
Mark Ramprakash has been appointed as England's new batting coach. He will take up the role immediately, joining England on a one-day tour of Sri Lanka later this month, and will fulfil the role across all formats.
The ECB's confirmation of Ramprakash's elevation had been widely predicted from the moment that Graham Thorpe indicated his reluctance to tour for long periods. Thorpe will remain England's lead batting coach, based at the national performance centre at Loughborough.
England slipped Ramprakash into the batting coaching role on a part-time basis with a marked lack of fanfare during series' against Sri Lanka and India this summer. The hierarchy took a long look at his methodology and finally they have seen enough to award him the role as they concentrate on restoring a strong team culture following the fallout from an Ashes whitewash and the ostracising of Kevin Pietersen.
Ramprakash, 45, was always technically absorbed as a player, and his knowledge should hold him in good stead as a batting coach. But his intensity was sometimes to his own detriment and, alongside an innate charm and politeness, when he was frustrated at not achieving his own exacting standards he could cut an intense and aggravated figure.
It would have been remiss of England's senior coaches if they had not considered how this might translate into his approach as a coach, especially considering his lack of experience in such a role at county level. He did act as Middlesex's batting coach for a relatively short period, although for a time it seemed as if he might move into TV as he made an excellent analyst during ITV4's coverage of IPL.
Paul Downton, the managing director of England cricket, was just one of many players who occasionally had a close-up view of a brooding Ramprakash when they shared a dressing room at Middlesex, but he has clearly concluded that, in common with many as they reach middle age, his approach is now more equable and communal. That he will expect discipline and desire from his charges can be taken for granted.
"During his time with both England Lions and the senior teams, Mark has proved a valuable addition to the coaching group," Downton said. "He has formed excellent relationships with players and a strong partnership with Peter Moores and the management team and I have no doubt he will continue to have a positive impact."
Ramprakash was often presented as the lost batting talent of his generation as his 52 Tests - an average of only 27.32 probably still etched on his soul - and 18 ODIs over an 11-year period never brought total fulfilment. But his desire to score runs never abated and he played 461 first-class and 407 List A games for Middlesex and Surrey, repeatedly proving a masterclass in preparation, technique and concentration, before retiring reluctantly in 2012, 25 years after making his Middlesex debut.
Thorpe was the man in possession, having worked as batting coach in one-day cricket alongside Ashley Giles. But he is committed to putting family life above long periods away on tour, although he will also spend a limited period with the performance programme squad in Sri Lanka and with the Lions in South Africa in the new year.
The vacancy arose when Moores, with the agreement of his captain Alastair Cook, decided to dispense with Graham Gooch following defeat in Australia and jump to a younger generation. It is now Ramprakash's task to help England's batsmen achieve what he never quite managed - the consistent run-scoring under pressure that wins matches. If he does that, it will be an accomplishment he will particularly treasure.
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo