4th November 2014
A one-stop WI Rumshop round-up of Caribbean cricket comment, news & views
Will the bodies start piling up?
Well that didn’t last long! Only a few days after the supposed final whistle was blown on the contest, the Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board launched their first late tackle after ‘full-time’, and landed a nasty dose of gravel rash on Denesh Ramdin.
West Indies’ Test captain – and, we are led to believe, a vocal member of the WI ODI squad in India’s ‘strike force’ – is no now longer T&T’s captain.
The news first filtered through via Twitter, with Ramdin himself (in the tone of his tweets) appearing to be comfortable relinquishing his position, in favour of team-mate, Rayad Emrit:
“Congrats to Emrit being elected the new Trinidad an Tobago 4 day captain, hope you bring it home this year mate…
“Thanks ttcb for the opportunity to lead the team. now am going to play as normal player without dealing with stress…
“Emrit mate you have my full support if selected to play for Trinidad this year in our 4-day games…
Can played with a free mind an continue to do well at all levels for TNT also focus on my family future.”
Emrit seems to get on far better with Ramdin than Sir Viv Richards has done in the past, judging by the tone of those messages.
But the ‘smiles and congratulations’ approach from Denesh was quickly quashed by the Trinidad national press.
Vinode Mamchan in the Guardian cautiously implied that this was merely a pragmatic move by the TTCB:
“A source also close to the situation told the T&T Guardian that Ramdin was made to understand that the selectors thinking behind recommending a new captain, was based on the fact that he (Ramdin) was expected to be in India for the opening of Regional Professional League and was then expected to be on tour of South Africa and Australia, while the tournament was being played.”
And this was effectively the line the TTCB took when it issued a press release later in the day. It stated that:
“The scheduled 5 pm meeting was called with Ramdin and Darren Bravo, a senior national and Test batsman who failed to show and did not inform the T&TCB of his non-attendance.”
Darren’s brother, Dwayne meanwhile is in South Africa for the Wham-Bam-Ram-Slam-Thank-You-Ma’am. He says that everything’s cool:
“It’s all sorted out and the West Indies are going to be back playing again… as far as I know the best West Indies team will tour South Africa.”
I admire his confidence.
Back in Trinidad, Ramdin did make it to the meeting – but late, and shabby – which the Press Release was anxious to point out:
“Ramdin, dressed in T-shirt and short pants arrived at 5:55 pm for the meeting.”
Tardiness, scruffiness. Whatever is the world coming to? As if mutiny wasn’t enough. That must have been the last straw:
“T&TCB president Bassarath informed him that the National Selectors have made a recommendation for a new captain and vice-captain.”
And that was that. After a few polite tweets, Denesh talked to the press.
Stephon Nicholas in Trinidad Newsday reported him as saying:
“They asked if I am making myself available for Trinidad and I said yes. They said with the ramifications of everything that went on in India and doubt of whether I would be available due to the tour of South Africa, they were looking at new leadership for Trinidad and Tobago. Rayad Emrit is the new captain,” Ramdin explained. The regional Test skipper said he believes the TTCB is feeling pressured by the WICB to act against him but says he is willing to represent his country in any capacity. “I knew it was going to happen. The TTCB was feeling pressure from the WICB and if that’s the route they’re going down then that’s that. I will do what I’ve been doing the last two years and keep performing. I’m going to let my bat and my gloves do the talking. I will play as a normal player in the team,” he continued. Ramdin was adamant that he does not see this as an end to his career and will be using it as added motivation. “This is even more motivation for me. I am going to try even harder,” he said.”
According to Roger Seepersad in the Trinidad Express, Ramdin became even more outspoken:
“I think it is more victimisation because they were asking me questions about India and my lawyer said not to talk about it so I think they were trying to get more information on that aspect,” Ramdin explained.
“They say they are hoping that this new leadership will make a difference in Trinidad and Tobago cricket and that it is unfortunate that a guy captains a team for ten games and when we (West Indies players) come back they don’t get the results they want,” Ramdin added.
“So I said how could I be West Indies captain and play for T&T under somebody else. When I was captain for the four-day and the 50-over teams and Dwayne (Bravo) was captain for West Indies’ one-day squad the guys said because he is one-day captain and it would look bad if he comes back to play for T&T under somebody else so he captained the team for the Super50. Now it is the same situation if I am captain for West Indies and have to come back to play under somebody else,” said Ramdin.”
This of course comes after the WICB’s weekend promise of ‘no victimisation’. Apparently, this edict doesn’t apply to regional territorial Boards, who can swing the axe indiscriminately at any of the perceived miscreants. But Denesh is determined that they won’t get to his head:
“I think they are trying to victimise me and some of the other players, but I am not going to let it disrupt me mentally,” he said.
“I am just trying to get back into the right frame of mind to play and I know we have a couple of games before going to South Africa so I will just try to get myself mentally prepared. We have a game against Barbados at the Oval so that is my main focus right now, to get out there and be playing cricket again and those other things I will leave it up to God because he knows best,” Ramdin explained. He also wants to use it as motivation to raise his game.
“I think this is going to make me stronger as well. In the past things like this had happened to me and I used it as something to motivate me and I think it brings out the best in me. I am going to use it… It is something that is going to drive me going forward and I am going to do well again no doubt about that,” he added.”
Pleasingly for once, ESPN Cricinfo was quick to pick up the story via the Trinidad press, and posted fairly straightforward coverage of the Express newspaper report, without additional comment, analysis or insight. But it did at least give the outside world the news. It was, however, a little cheeky of the transcriber of the piece to claim authorship of the story via Twitter:
Renaldo Matadeen @RenaldoMatadeen ·
Pain. @ESPNcricinfo has my story @ESPN_Caribbean — #Emrit named T&T four-day captain, #Ramdin alleges victimisation: http://ow.ly/DMiTz
“I read the article in the t’dad express about the TNT capt issue. Why do administrators continue to deceive people. Is Patrick for real.”
And then again this evening:
“My information is Emrit has declined the captaincy of the TNT cricket team. Well done Emrit, do not accept the divide and rule strategy…
“He apparently stated that he does not want to capt the team in these circumstances and has ask TTCB to select a new capt. Well done Emrit!!!
“Even more disgraceful dat d TTCB have attacked Ramdin in their press release today it is becoming more evident they r not fit 2 run cricket…
“Why do people want to administer a sport then dislike the people who play it it really baffles me no end Will really like to know the answer.”
However, Roger Sant, Sports Director of CNC3 TV in Trinidad & Tobago, tweeted a rebuttal:
“TTCB CEO, Suruj Ragoonath denies that Rayad Emrit has declined the captaincy of the national team.”
President Cameron also took to Twitter again today to share his thoughts:
“Remember….. “Our goodness doesn’t come down to what we have in the bank. it comes down to what we have in our hearts.”
Personally, I found Chris Gayle’s early morning tweet far more enlightening:
“Just woke up. 4:37am. So hungry, I could eat a elephant now.”
A few hours later, he seemed a bit happier:
David Oram is the resident ‘statto’, and sometime presenter of ‘Mason & Guests’ – Voice of Barbados’ weekly cricket talk show, the leading cricket radio show in the West Indies – hosted by the Caribbean’s principal radio commentator, Andrew Mason. You can tweet me at DavidOram@colblimp1983.