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SUNDAY 6 AUGUST, 2017 – UWI TODAY 15
The Journey from Player to Coach
BY CHRISTON SANDY
It has been 14 years since The UWI St. Augustine student
cricket team tasted success in the UWI Games which are
held biennially among the four campuses.
Keshava Ramphal, a member of that winning team in
2003 returned, no longer as a player but as coach, to reclaim
the trophy for St. Augustine in June this year.
“I am happy to be part of the teams to win it as a player
and coach. It’s a great accomplishment,” he said.
The former Under 19 Trinidad and Tobago national
cricketer now pursues a PhD in Sport Studies at the
University of Trinidad and Tobago.
Keshava has played 16 years of premiership cricket since
he first started his career at PowerGen before leaving to
captain the Preysal cricket team. Transitioning from a player
to coach was a decision of necessity, he said, explaining that
his age, education and family life were major factors.
Keshava is one of the few Level 3 cricket coaches in
Trinidad and Tobago, having completed his certification
through Cricket Australia, the only ICC-endorsed training
body for certification.
“As a coach I had to give up some of the playing time,
especially as new coaching opportunities arrived. After a few
years of being a player-coach, I decided to go in to coaching
full time this year.”
He has been assistant coach to the Combined Campuses
and Colleges Cricket Team (CCC) since 2014, and this
regional experience has been instrumental in helping the
team win the UWI Games 2017 Cricket title.
He foresees the St. Augustine Campus becoming a
platform for players who wish to continue their development
in cricket and be selected to the national team via the route of
the CCC team. He also expects that this can be an attraction
for players who want to pursue academics whilst continuing
cricket at a higher level.
Keshava has high aspirations for the recently launched
Faculty of Sport and is hopeful that its introduction would
create a greater appreciation for student athletes, but noted
that more needs to be done to accommodate them.
“I would like to see a student athlete service department
which manages and coordinates academic affairs of the
students while they are fulfilling playing commitments.”
His vision for cricket at The UWI is to see full-
time coaches at St. Augustine so they can continue the
development of the sport at the campus. At Cave Hill, for
example there are four full-time coaches and ten cricketers
on full scholarship. At St. Augustine Keshava is the only
coach, and he is part-time. He is on a two-year no-pay study
leave from his teaching job at a secondary school, while he
does his PhD.
While he praised the efforts of the UWI Sport and
Physical Educational Centre (SPEC) for its efforts to provide
cricketers with good quality physiotherapists, training
and gym facilities, he hopes to see indoor facilities being
As for the cricket programme, the young coach is all
behind its chances of collecting more trophies and successes
for the St. Augustine Campus in the upcoming season.
Vikash Mohan, a final-year Mechanical Engineering student was named the UWI Sportsman of the
Year by the Vice-Chancellor in May 2017, at the launch of the UWI Games. As captain of The UWI St.
Augustine cricket team, he then led the team to overall victory at the end of the UWI Games in June.
Vikash, a former Trinidad and Tobago Under 13, 15 and 19 all-rounder, has been tipped by the
Assistant Coach at the CCC, Keshava Rampaul, to captain the CCC in the upcoming season after
serving as vice-captain this year.
He praised his parents when asked who inspired him to play cricket. “They never really wanted
me home doing nothing,” he said. He also thanked his coaches both at Aranguez and at the zonal
level for their mentorship.
He laughingly placed blame on his parents for being at UWI but insists that he does not regret
listening to them as he stated, “in terms of having something after [sport], education is important.”
Like most student athletes, he struggles to balance the two and admits that, “it’s hard, to be honest.
It’s a lot of sacrifice, especially when all your friends liming and you have to make that sacrifice to
go to training or do school work; at times when you have exams you have to focus on school work.”
He explained that time management was a major issue for him. He also felt that more could be
done for student athletes who missed exams due to national duty.
Vikash also urged athletes to always give their best.
“You never know who is looking at you, because I never had intentions of being picked for CCC.
I just did it for the best and the coach from CCC happened to be there and I got called.”
He hoped that the recent award was just the start and that it could be a stepping stone to mimic
his idol, Brian Lara, and one day be a part of the West Indies Cricket Team. (Christon Sandy)
Vikash Mohan urges athletes to always give their best, because you never know
who is looking at you.
The Best that You can Do
Like most student athletes, he struggles to balance the two and admits that,
“it’s hard, to be honest. It’s a lot of sacrifice, especially when all your friends
liming and you have to make that sacrifice to go to training or do school
work; at times when you have exams you have to focus on school work.”
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