Thu | Feb 22, 2018

Former West Indies keepers question axing Ramdin

Published:Wednesday | July 13, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Three former West Indies wicketkeepers, Jackie Hendriks, Deryck Murray and Jeff Dujon, have questioned the decision by selectors not to include Denesh Ramdin for the upcoming Test series against India.

"While I can vaguely understand the explanations by selectors regarding his average, especially when comparing it to other keepers around the world, but in the current context of the West Indies team his exclusion, at this time, doesn't make sense," Dujon told Cricbuzz.

"Considering how experienced an opposition India is, his experience and his value as a good player versus spin are still key."

Ramdin averages 25 from 74 Tests with four hundreds, the last coming two and a half years ago against New Zealand in Hamilton.

The former Windies skipper has struggled with the bat in his last 11 Tests over a 12-month period, averaging just 22, but showed signs of form in his last two innings on the tour of Australia, scoring 59 in Melbourne last December and 62 in Sydney last January.

"He is the best-equipped keeper-batsman right now in West Indies. The batting and balancing of the team have been weakened for a long time by them placing him to bat too high in Tests," argued Dujon.

Former Barbados captain and West Indies wicketkeeper, Courtney Browne, who took over chairmanship of the selection panel from legendary former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd last month, said going forward, selection would depend on consistency and be guided by "statistical analysis".

"I'm very disappointed and confused. [It] brings into the question what really is the selection policy and their understanding of the importance and role of a wicketkeeper. Call me old-fashioned, but I maintain the belief long after my playing days that you always pick your best keeper first - even more so in Test cricket," said Murray, who played for West Indies between 1963 and 1980.

"You asking him to bat in positions that specialist batsmen should be in, and when he struggles, you drop him because he not making runs?" queried Murray.

"I hope to hear a clear explanation from the selectors on this."

Hendriks also shared Murray's sentiments that Ramdin has not benefited from an unbalanced Windies outfit over the years.

"I've been a little bit at sea at what the selectors are doing for a fair while now," noted Hendriks, who played for West Indies between 1962 and 1969.

"The teams are so unbalanced, which is forcing Ramdin to bat out of position. So if the issue is not with his wicketkeeping, the selectors need to focus more on the top-order batsmen who aren't scoring runs consistently."