When the MSK Prasad-led national selection committee announced the names of the short-listed candidates for Indian cricket team’s support staff positions, Mark Ramprakash was the only overseas face.
The former England cricketer, who until recently was the batting coach of England team, was named as the third option for the batting coach’s role -- after Vikram Rathour and Sanjay Bangar.
Prasad had made it clear that the candidates who are placed second and third would be used for India A team or could be offered roles at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).
Speaking to Sportstar late on Thursday, Ramprakash admitted that he would seriously consider taking up a position with the India A or the NCA, if the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) makes a formal offer.
“I still haven’t heard anything from the BCCI. But yes, if I am made an offer, I will consider it very seriously,” Ramprakash said.
The 49-year old Ramprakash, who featured in 52 Tests and 18 ODIs, worked with the England men’s team for nearly six years, before parting ways a couple of weeks ago. The cricketer, who is of Indian origin, made it clear that he indeed is interested in working with Indian cricket sides as there is a large pool of talent.
“When I was the assistant coach of England U-19, we played India and were admiring many talents in Indian cricket. (There were) not just stylish batsmen or spinners, but also some pace bowlers. Indian cricket is very healthy and there’s so much talent in the country. The fact that I applied for Indian batting role is a strong indication of how interested I would be to work in the country,” Ramprakash said.
When he toured India with the England U-19 a few years ago, he was impressed with the way young talents like Shubman Gill fared. “I like Shubman a lot. He scored a couple of hundreds in the ODIs against England in that series. (Prithvi) Shaw also played very well.”
After spending six years with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Ramprakash feels, “the time has come in life to look for fresh challenges.” And that’s the reason why he threw his hat into the ring for India’s batting coach profile.
“I think as a player and coach, I have toured all the major Test playing countries. So, I have a world class experience and I have worked at various levels. I have fair knowledge about the game and as a coach I am open-minded.”
If he is finally offered a role with India A or the NCA, Ramprakash will be dealing directly with former India captain and the director of NCA, Rahul Dravid.
“Rahul is not only a great player, but he is a great person. He was much admired when he was the coach of India U-19 team. Anyone would be really excited about working with such a person,” Ramprakash said.
After playing international cricket for little more than a decade, Ramprakash played a key role as the batting coach of England. At a time when the team was in a shambles, following a disastrous outing in the World Cup in 2015, Ramprakash played a significant role in getting the best out of batsmen.
Having worked closely with the likes of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, Ramprakash hopes to bring those experiences to the table, if and when he takes charge in the Indian set-up.
“The main thing is that we saw in the England team earlier was that players struggled to play with confidence. Post 2015 World Cup, there was a different mentality led by captain Eoin Morgan. The players were naturally aggressive, we encouraged this attitude of the freedom to be aggressive. That was the big change.”
That the change worked was evident with the way England fared in the last four years and eventually went on to win the World Cup for the first time. Though Ramprakash wasn’t part of the main team during the World Cup, he was happy to see his boys live their dream.
And now, as another new challenge looks to be coming Ramprakash’s way, he is ready to take a fresh guard.