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May 18, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Denesh Ramdin...new West Indies Test captain.
Denesh Ramdin s ascendency to
West Indies captaincy comes sim-
ilarly to how Darren Sammy
became team captain too. Simply,
right now, there is no-one else
who can be comprehensively con-
sidered for that role. No one!
But in Ramdin s case, there is no
doubt as to if he deserves his place
in the team or not, ala Sammy.
Ramdin, who is 29, is easily the
best wicket-keeper in the
Fifty-six (56) Tests, four cen-
turies, 161 dismissals behind the
stumps, Ramdin has the right expe-
rience in Tests to command respect
and demand excellence, but his
batting average in Tests, 27.25, must
There were other considerations
for the position.
Chris Gayle, who turns 35 in Sep-
tember, is on his way out of Test
cricket. The opening Test against New
Zealand at Sabina Park, his home
ground in Kingston next month, will
be his 100th, so Gayle s candidature
would not have lasted more than a
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who turns
40 in August, has been there, done
that, did not enjoy it. He would not
want West Indies captaincy again.
Chanderpaul is simply a thinking,
batting machine. Like Gayle, he too
is on the downslope anyway.
Dwayne Bravo, 31 in October, will
see more appearances in the Test
team, now that Sammy as bowling
all-rounder and especially captain,
will not be playing Tests anymore.
Bravo, though, will have to either
put up or shut up for his Test place.
Only three other possible candi-
dates existed - Kirk Edwards, Kraigg
Brathwaite and Darren Bravo. Two
are young enough to take West Indies
into the next decade and beyond, as
I would not be surprised if one of
these succeed Ramdin whenever his
tenure evaporates or expires.
Edwards, though, who will be 30
in November, just had a run-in with
Barbados cricket authorities during
Caribbean s 50 overs tournament in
January last, and was promptly sent
home for indiscipline.
Despite that, he did somehow still
manage to be selected to play against
England in Antigua & Barbuda in the
One Day International (ODI) series
soon afterwards, only to fail miserably.
Edwards will have to reform his
cricket and himself, regain composure
and confidence, making runs like
Guyana s proverbial rain, before he
can even be considered for anything
Brathwaite, 22 in December, is not
a bad bet for the next skipper, post-
Ramdin, as he has been allowed much
scope by West Indies selectors to
make runs and cement his place in
the Test team.
Unfortunately, he is ultra-slow at
the crease, almost a stroke-less won-
der. He has to work diligently on his
production rate, now only 32 percent,
to worry opposing teams.
Since Brathwaite has captained Bar-
bados reasonably well, West Indies
could have superimposed him into
the captaincy position as South Africa
did with that other left-hander, the
mighty Graeme Smith.
"Smithy" was also sent into the
deep end as captain of South Africa
at that exact age, and not only did
he swim well with the sharks, but he
managed to corral or destroy most
of them too. What a colossus Smith
has been for South Africa!
If Brathwaite could put together
enterprising, energetic, consistently
big scores, with at least 50 percent
strike-rate in Tests, then he could
well be a West Indies fixture and next
Test captain after Ramdin.
Darren Bravo, only 25 now, is also
one for the future. Indeed, he should
have been one for all of our present,
commanding a place in every format
for West Indies. His last sojourn, to
New Zealand last year, coupled with
his complete collapse as a batsman
in 2014 s regional four-day tourna-
ment, suggest that he has to restart
at ground zero, as regards his batting.
Only after consistent run-making can
Darren be considered for anything.
So, simply, it was Ramdin, by
default, or no-one else!
Denesh has to be as aggressive in
WI planning and production as he
has been for T&T. While he has led
his country relatively well but spo-
radically in First Class games, it has
been more in the shortened formats
that his home team had done well
under his leadership. This appoint-
ment will certainly be a massive chal-
lenge for Ramdin, even if he is now
more reliable and confident, especially
with his wicket-keeping skills much
Unlike Clive Lloyd, who was given
captaincy to India at almost exactly
the same age, almost 30 in 1974/5,
and had a nucleus of greats in his
team -- Roy Fredericks, Gordon
Greenidge, Sir Viv Richards, Alvin
Kallicharran, Deryck Murray, Lance
Gibbs and Sir Andy Roberts -- Ramdin
has no such luxuries in his.
Ramdin will have to use much more
guile than Lloyd, Richards, even Richie
Richardson, who had a handy pace
attack - Sir Curtly Ambrose, Court-
ney Walsh, Ian Bishop, Patrick Pat-
terson, Winston and Kenny Benjamin.
It will be tougher for Ramdin, as
he has no such bowling attack to rely
on, even if Sunil Narine, Jason Holder,
Jerome Taylor and Miguel Cummings
might be called up, for bowlers win
matches, batsmen save them!
But if anyone can do well, inspire
his team as captain in this present
atmosphere of West Indies cricket,
then Ramdin can, especially with his
tenacity and tastes for success.
WI captaincy will not
be easy for Ramdin
COLIN EH CROFT
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