By Sean Devers
Former West Indies batsman Guyanese Ramnaresh gave new CWI President Ricky Skerritt’s Administration a passing grade and would like to see better facilities in the Caribbean to produce more players who can produce at the International level.
The 39-year-old, who was born in the Essequibo Island of Wakanaam, was viewed as a young prodigy since he moved to Campbellville in Georgetown as a toddler and reeled off back-to-back centuries for his Primary School Stella Maris. He played the first of his 220 First-Class matches as a 15 year-old to become the youngest First-Class player in the West Indies before making a magnificent 84 against Pakistan in Barbados at 19, while at age 28 years, 228 days he became the youngest West Indian to reach 5000 runs when he scored a century against England in Jamaica in 2009.
The elegant Sarwan played his last Test against India in 2011 at a venue where he announced his arrival on the Test arena, his final ODI was in 2013 when West Indies opposed India and the next year he said goodbye to first-Class Cricket when Leicestershire played Worcestershire in the English County Championships.
“Since I have retired I spend a lot of time with my family and that has not changed since. I am trying to be as safe as possible during these testing times,” said the proprietor Fitness Gym 53 in Providence, named after his West Indies shirt number.
During his career which was plagued by injuries, he scored 5,842 runs at an average of 40.1 from 87 Tests with 15 centuries and a highest score of 291 against England in the first innings of the fourth Test, equalling the highest score for a West Indian in England made by Sir Vivian Richards. His Test career spanned between March 2000 and June 2011.
After registering his first Test century against Bangladesh in 2002 after 28 matches, his next ton came in a match that has been etched in memory. West Indies chased down 418 against the then number one ranked Test team, Australia in Antigua, a feat that has not been broken as yet.
Sarwan Captained the West Indies in four Tests and scored 5,804 runs from 181 ODIs including five tons and averaged 42.67 while he scored two fifties in 18 T2OIs.
In 220 First-Class matches ‘Ronnie’ scored 13,405 runs and made 33 centuries between 1996-2014, while he led Guyana to the title in inaugural Stanford T20 tournament in 2006 in Antigua and the Caribbean T20 title in 2010 in Trinidad as Guyana qualified for the Champions League in South Africa the same year. Sarwan also played in the 2008 IPL.
Sarwan last played competitive cricket in 2016 when he played two matches in CPL for Trinidad &Tobago Knight Riders against the Patriots in Florida and against the Guyana Amazon Warriors at Providence.
In April last year, ‘Ronnie’ was invited to work with the West Indies team ahead of the Tri-Nations One-day International Series in Ireland and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 England & Wales and again in September last year when he and batting Maestro Brian Lara were brought in to share their knowledge and experiences with Jason Holder’s side in a camp ahead of the first Test against India in Antigua.
“My role with the West indies team was more as a mentor, to offer advice to the players and help them the best way I could.
I was a kind of a mentor to the players and tried my best to assist them in any technical ways and with any shortcomings where I thought they could improve in,” said Sarwan, one of 52 Guyanese to play Test Cricket.
Last month brought up a year since the Ricky Skerritt led slate won the CWI elections in Jamaica over Dave Cameron.
“Skerrit Administration; when he came in it was a difficult time, not only the financial challenges they had to deal with but so far you got to give him the props where someone deserves props. He has been doing a good job and has had to make hard decisions and it’s good to see when you have to make harsh decisions you make them in the right way. So I would like to see him continue in the path they going so in the coming months they could get some of the things they have been working and they have promised come to fruition,” said Sarwan who has played for the West Indies, Gloucestershire, Guyana, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Kings XI Punjab, Leicestershire, Stanford Superstars and Trinbago Knight Riders.
The GCC and Demerara right-hander gave his views on the developmental System in the West Indies.
“I think the system we have in place is OK but obviously I think there is room for improvement, of course there is an under-19 camp to help those players and I think if that can be done for the First-Class teams around the region, I think that would be able not only help to improve them mentally but also technically so they would be better prepared for international cricket,” suggested Sarwan who sponsored a Berbice Cricket Board tournament this year which was won by Rose Hall Youth & Sports Club.
Sarwan wants to see better facilities in the Region to produce better players.
“I have not really looked at Regional in a while, but based on the feedback I am getting is that the standard has dropped a bit, like I have always said before, once you have a very sound and strong first Class level you would obviously be able to go on to make the West Indies team and to be better equipped to perform at the International level I think that is one area we have to look at, so hopefully we would be able to have better facilities in the Caribbean so that players will improve and be ready to play at the highest level,” Sarwan added.
The England series has been suspended due to the Global Pandemic the Corona Virus and the flamboyant Sarwan, one of 37 players to captain the West Indies in Test Cricket, had a message for Guyanese people.
“The Corona Virus has been devastating and I urge everyone to adhere to the instructions and guidelines by the specialists and do the right things. Follow the advice so you can keep your families and those around them safe. Wash your hands and practice social distancing and try to stay indoors if you can,” Sarwan advised.
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