Thatscricket - News - Surrey make move for Ramprakash

Published: Sunday, February 4, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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London: English county champions Surrey have made the first move to sign England batsman Mark Ramprakash following his release from Middlesex. Paul Sheldon, the Surrey chief executive, confirmed on Friday that the club will soon be meeting the player to discuss the prospect of him crossing the Thames from Lord's to continue his career at The Oval."I believe he wants to stay in London," said Sheldon. "It's very unusual for a batsman of his calibre to become available. What we will be interested in is him scoring the numbers of runs he's made for Middlesex over the past 10 years."Though other counties are sure to be keen to acquire Ramprakash's services, Surrey would be unlikely to be prepared to offer more cash than their salary levels allow.Ramprakash, 31, had 12 months of his Middlesex contract left to run, and last year was his benefit season. He made his debut in 1987 and was county captain in 1997/99. The Middlesex committee reluctantly made their decision, but reasoned that it was better that an unhappy Ramprakash was allowed to play his cricket elsewhere.Ramprakash, who signed a four-year deal in 1997, asked to leave six months ago, wanting first division cricket. Middlesex finished second bottom of the second division last season.He said recently, "The fact is, when I signed my current contract, there was no division one or two. Now I don't play against Surrey, Yorkshire and Lancashire and I don't want people saying 'he only makes runs against second division teams, so how can he play for England?' I want to pursue my career."Ramprakash was granted an England central contract last year and began the summer as Mike Atherton's opening partner, but by the end of the 2000 season Marcus Trescothick had replaced him at the top of the order. He would add extra quality to a Surrey squad strengthened recently by the signing of England fast bowler Ed Giddins from Warwickshire.Copyright AFP 2000

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