Batsman advised against fitness test yesterday
By Sean Devers
Stylish former Guyana and West Indies Captain Ramnaresh Sarwan continues to be sidelined because of injury issues and was yesterday ruled out of this month’s Regional Super 50 cricket tournament which starts in Guyana on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old with 15 centuries and 31 fifties from 87 Tests was named in Guyana’s 14-man squad pending the results of a fitness test scheduled for yesterday. He played in a Guyana team practice match on Thursday; scoring 68 in a confident looking 78-ball innings.
But the right-hander, still the youngest ever West Indian to play First-Class cricket, opted not to attempt the fitness test after advice from West Indies Cricket Board specialist CJ Clark and the trainers presently working with the Guyana team.
Sarwan, who last played at the International level against India in Barbados in July, has been replaced in the Guyana squad by 34-year-old Travis Dowlin who played six tests between July 2009 and June last year.
According to the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Sarwan continues to undergo remedial physiotherapy treatment under the guidance of Mrs. Beverly Nelson and CJ Clarke for his back injury which initially caused him to be replaced by opener Kieran Powell in the West Indies ODI team to Bangladesh.
“The GCB has no choice, at this time, other than to request a replacement to the squad, from the WICB. The GCB’s National Senior Selectors have selected Mr. Travis Dowlin to replace Mr. Sarwan,” the Guyana Board said in a brief statement to the media yesterday afternoon.
“Sarwan explained that while there was minor discomfort while he was batting in the practice match on Thursday he was stroking the ball well and batting was not a problem. He however said he encountered difficulties while fielding and thought it wise not to attempt the fitness test after explaining his condition and how he felt to Clarke and the local Physio Nelson and the team’s trainers,” Reon King, the GCB’s Cricket Development Officer informed yesterday.
Sarwan, who has played 173 ODIs since his first 11 years ago, remains one of the region’s top batsmen and averages over 40 in both Test and ODI cricket. His 462 runs and three centuries when Guyana last won the Regional 50-over title in 2005 are both Regional limited overs records.
The career of the talented Sarwan, who played the first of his 191 First-Class matches in 1996, has been plagued by injury and controversy and the decision not to offer him a WICB contract this year raised several eyebrows in the cricket fraternity at a times when all is not well between the WICB and WIPA, of which Sarwan is an executive member.
In 1996 Sarwan was shockingly dropped from the second Test against Pakistan in the away series in November and when he returned for the third Test, sustained a foot injury which kept him out of the one-dayers against Pakistan and the tour of India.
He turned in some solid performances at the World Cup and was named as the captain following the retirement of Brian Lara but more injury was to follow which limited his appearances in 2007.
Only the second Essequibian after Ivor Mendonca to play test cricket, Sarwan made three fifties and a century in the 2008 home series against Sri Lanka when he was appointed Vice-Captain to Chris Gayle and after fitness issues again kept him out of last year’s series in Sri Lanka when many felt he was fit enough to play, Sarwan enjoyed a successful ODI series against India this year.
More bad luck was in store for the stroke-player and his last ODI innings in Jamaica in June against India ended after 94 balls when he was forced to retire hurt on 75. A lean Test series against India followed and he was dropped after scoring 18 and 8 in the second Test in Barbados.
At 31, Sarwan is keen to play and has been working hard on his rehabilitation work in Guyana.
His unavailability for the Regional Super50 tournament is another frustrating set back for one of the region’s most accomplished batmen and this latest injury and his less than luke warm relationship with those in charge of West Indies cricket means his career is now at the crossroads.
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