Thursday, April 25, 2024

A THORNY ISSUE: Looks like last lap for Ramdin


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THE PURGE IS almost complete.

It was only a matter of time before Denesh Ramdin joined those who were seen as being militant on last year’s abandoned tour of India on the back-burner.

We would be naïve if we saw no link between the exclusion of Dwayne Bravo and Keiron Pollard from the World Cup team in the aftermath of what transpired on the subcontinent.

We should remember that Darren Sammy was also excluded initially but reclaimed a spot after someone got injured on the tour to South Africa.

How obvious was it to interpret that the selectors appeared to be taking action, bypassing two of the more experienced players for the sport’s greatest showpiece?

This after the West Indies Cricket Board (WIBC) president Dave Cameron told Prime Ministers Ralph Gonsalves and Keith Mitchell along with the players’ legal representative Ralph Thorne at a meeting in Trinidad that there would be no recriminations from the India debacle.

The selectors, of course, wouldn’t admit to going for anyone’s jugular simply because they can choose who they like and don’t necessarily have to give any explanation.

In this case, chief selector Clive Lloyd tried explaining that they were building a team for the next  World Cup, so they were trying some new blood.

It was outrageous because you would normally play a squad you believe could at least be competitive, even if they didn’t win the World Cup because you could begin the rebuilding process after, as you prepare for the next one.

Truthfully, even if you wanted to claim, as Lloyd did, that some of the players who appeared to be targeted didn’t have outstanding One-Day records in recent years, the credentials of their replacements were also questionable, so that charge couldn’t stick.

Therefore, it seemed to me that the selectors were flexing their muscles as they began the process of putting some petulant players out to pasture following the proverbial concept of finding more than one way to skin a cat.

Even the outspoken Chris Gayle showed solidarity with Bravo and Pollard and his verbal venom got him in trouble with the West Indies authorities although eventually their case against him fell through the cracks.

Ramdin was retained in the One-Day squad while Jason Holder was promoted to captain the team prior to the World Cup. I thought the Trinidadian was a token in the side as the selectors wanted to prove they bore no animosity towards any individual who played a leading role in what was regarded as a mutiny by the players.


Not only that: it cost the WICB $42 million claimed by the Indians for various things, the termination of bilateral tours between the countries and a whole lot of embarrassment.

Somebody had to pay the price even though it was felt by the Indians that Cameron could have done more to stop the players from withdrawing their services from the tour.

In some fora the players were made the scapegoats, but the commission set up to investigate the issue apportioned blame to all parties involved in the conflict.

Subsequently, Bravo and Pollard became the fall guys and it was only a question of who was next in line to join them.

Ramdin appeared to have dodged a bullet as he was retained as the Test captain even though there were rumours that he had been axed.

We should recall, too, that Ramdin’s own board in Trinidad wasn’t pleased at all with the role he allegedly played in siding with those who were eager to pull the plug on the Indian tour and eventually did.

I was not surprised when it was revealed that he would be replaced by Holder as Test captain.

Lloyd sang his familiar tune about looking to the future as the reason for making the switch at this time.

Ramdin led the team to a share of the series in the home assignment against England and that may have been good enough in normal circumstances to allow him to keep the job but he was returned to the rank and file for the forthcoming tour to Sri Lanka instead.

I think he could be on his last legs if his performances as wicketkeeper/batsman don’t measure up. Shane Dowrich is there breathing down his neck and batsman Shai Hope can also keep wicket.

The shift to Holder will also allow him to build a team largely in his own image as there are several young players in the squad around his age group.

I wish him all the best as we take another step in the journey to restore West Indies cricket to its former glory.

Andi Thornhill is an experienced, award-winning sports journalist.


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