Says former Test batman Maurice Foster
By Sean Devers in Jamaica
The outrageous sacking of experienced West Indies middle order batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan from the West Indies cricket team has ignited lots of debate around the region as the Caribbean side prepares to tour Sri Lanka next month.
Sixty-seven year-old former Jamaica and West Indies batsman Maurice Foster has added his support to a growing list of fans, administrators and former players who feel that although his fitness level might not be where the WICB wants it to be, he still would have been a valuable asset to the West Indies team in Sri Lanka with his classy batting and ability to play spin well.
Foster, who scored a century against Australia and was dismissed for 99 against India during his 14-match Test career between 1969 and 1978, says the overall picture should have been taken into consideration and feels the Sarwan should have been selected.
New Coach, Barbadian Otis Gibson explained that the decision to leave out the 30-year-old Guyanese was a tough one adding that Sarwan’s non-selection was based mainly on the new fitness policy of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) as West Indies cricket enter a new phase.
“Sarwan’s name caused the most deliberation but in the end it was felt that it was not in the team’s or his best interest to continue to take him on tour and not get the best out of him due to injury,” Gibson revealed.
Sarwan Captained Guyana in the present regional One-Day competition and captured the Man-of-the-Match award in the opening round but Gibson said that it was his fitness and not talent that was the issue.
“It’s an issue of player’s availability. Players like Sarwan, (Ryan) Hinds and even Jerome Taylor have played in the past with injury problems and were not able to contribute to the level required. Players now have to be fully fit so that they can always be ready and available,” Gibson said.
Gibson said that this is not the end of Sarwan since he is a huge talent adding that the right-hander needs to now work on getting fitter since there is lots of cricket ahead for the West Indies including the World Cup in Asia.
Sarwan is a big support of the West Indies Players Association (WICB) and despite his wonderful performances on the field last year scoring 762 runs from 10 innings against England including 4 centuries he was not offered a central contract.
The WICB claims that his injury record was the main reason but many feel his strong affiliation with WIPA and his decision to join the player’s strike last year was a big influencing factor in his contract snub and non-selection to teach him a lesson.
Gibson says Chairman of the selectors Clyde Butts has spoken to Sarwan about what is required from him physically but is it unclear if he will undergo any fitness test before the One-Day team for Sri Lanka is picked this weekend.
Sarwan averaged 53 (318 runs) when only Brian Lara (Ave. 114.66 with 3 tons and in 688 runs) and Carl Hooper (Ave 27.83 with 167 runs) averaged higher than 18 from the three Tests in 2001 when he last played in Sri Lanka and had an outstanding series when West Indies last played Sri Lanka in 2008 when he score a century and 3 fifties in the two-Test home series.
Sarwan has been playing Test cricket for 10 years now and averages 57.61 against Sri Lanka. Foster says that while the stroke-player might not be at the fitness level required by the WICB he is not ‘unfit’ from cricket and has been batting well recently.
Most of Sarwan’s injuries have been caused by ‘cricket accidents’ (hit on his instep while batting, ran on a ball and damaged ankle, dived to save a boundary and injured shoulder) and not a lack of fitness.
Guyana’s new Assistant Coach Reon King, who also feels Sarwan should have been picked for Sri Lanka, said the Guyana Captain did not do too badly in the ‘Beep test’ before the team left for the Champions League in South Africa and it is unclear on whose medical authority was Sarwan declared unfit for this tour after playing in the Caribbean T20, the CLT20 in Africa and in the Regional One-Day competition.
Foster says once Sarwan is playing cricket and batting well he should be on any team selected to play in Asian conditions since he is the best player of spin in the West Indies and is needed if West Indies are to post good totals now that Brian Lara is not longer in the team.
He noted that Sarwan batted well in South Africa for Guyana and looked good in the first match of this year’s regional competition in Jamaica and never seemed to be struggling to run around in the field.
”When you think of batsmanship and the contribution in terms of runs that he could make to the team at this point in his career, a three quarters fit Sarwan is better than most other fully fit batsmen in the Caribbean and he is needed in the middle order,” Foster, who also played 2 ODIs in 1973, opined.
Foster made these comments as a comments person during the live Line & Length Radio coverage of the first semi-final of the Regional One-Day tournament in Jamaica on Thursday.
“I am not campaigning for unfit players to be picked. What I am saying is that in the best interest of giving the team the best chance of being competitive you need to pick your best players for the various situations and conditions and Sarwan, who does not seem to be injured or labouring on the field at this time, should have been picked for the Sri Lanka tour,” Foster said.
Sarwan averages above 40 in Test, ODIs and First-Class cricket and since West Indies gained Test status in 1928, only eight West Indian batsmen including fellow Guyanese Shiv Chanderpaul (22) and Clive Lloyd (19) have scored more than his 15 Test centuries.
The Essequibo-born Sarwan is expected to lead Demerara in next week’s Inter-County four-day competition.
Sep 22, 2019In overcast conditions at the Everest located a ‘stone’s throw’ from mighty Atlantic Ocean, day two activities in three-day Indigenous Heritage Games continued yesterday and climaxed late into...
By Sir Ronald Sanders “Hurricane Hell” and “The Bahamas is at war being attacked by Hurricane Dorian. And yet The... more
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]