Tony Becca | Young Dorwich or veteran Ramdin?
When I was a young man, selectors were seen as people who generally knew what they were doing and who selected people who knew how to do a good job – to make runs, to take wickets, and, all things being equal, to field as well as possible, or so it appeared.
Today, and over the years, the selector’s job seems to have become more difficult, maybe because of the coming of one day international cricket and Twenty20 cricket, so much so that sometimes you get mixed up one with the other.
Maybe it is just that things have changed. And other things have to change, in some ways, in order to accommodate them.
Although it should not really matter, remembering that good batting is good batting, that good bowling is good bowling, and that good fielding is good fielding, sometimes you get mixed up as to who is a good batsman, or a good bowler, and in this case, who is a good wicket-keeper, or who is the better wicket-keeper.
Denesh Ramdin, a wicketkeeper, has been left out of the West Indies team now playing India, and there are many calling for explanation for what they see as injustice.
Ramdin, however, as good as he is, has committed himself many times, including trying to embarrass National Hero Sir Vivian Richards by reading a derogatory letter on BBC Television for the world to hear by appealing in a match against Pakistan for a catch which he had not taken, and by trying to embarrass the present chairman of selectors, Courtney Browne, by digging up one of Browne’s failings during the chairman’s career.
One thing is sure, however. Ramdin has been a first-class wicketkeeper from day one to now and a fairly successful batsmen at number seven, up to quite recently.
Ramdin has not been my “pinup” boy because of instances like those mentioned above, because of the times he has made himself unavailable for selection, and the reasons why, and because of his many clashes with the board.
As a wicketkeeper, however, he has been good, very good. In my opinion, Ramdin is next to only Deryck Murray, Jeffrey Dujon, Jackie Hendriks, and, possibly, Gerry Alexander as West Indies wicketkeepers.
In my experience, based on what I have seen, only on very few occasions has he let down the West Indies while standing behind the stumps.
Ramdin’s captaincy and his batting, however, have been the source of contention for me in spite of some fine match innings as a batsman.
As a captain he so often does what comes to mind and not what is considered correct, such as when not to bat and when to bat after winning the toss.
And so it is with the use of his bowlers. He does seem to know when to bowl a particular bowler, when to defend and when to attack.
He often got most things wrong.
As a young man, Ramdin was a promising wicketkeeper and batsman, he played some good innings at number seven, until suddenly, either he or somebody came up with the idea that he was a “big bat”, pushed him up to the order, and exposed his deficiencies for all to see.
He loves to sweep, and he does not seem capable of doing so properly. He loves to drive, and he does not seem capable of doing so consistently well. He loves to give himself room to cut, in all forms of the game, and, most times, he misses the ball and pays the price.
And as a batsman, he keeps doing the same thing over and over again.
A gutsy number seven batsman is different from a stroke-playing number six or number five batsman, and Ramdin never seemed to understand the difference.
His recent figures as a batman have surely caused his demise.
No man has a God-given right to a place on any team much more on this West Indies team. Ramdin, however, who should have been shown the door a few times before this, does not deserve the axe this time around, not as the wicketkeeper.
He is still the best wicketkeeper around, and as promising as Shane Dowrich is, Ramdin is the better wicketkeeper, and I dare say, although Dowrich has played as a specialist batsman, Ramdin is still a better batsman batting at number seven.
Dowrich is good, and maybe he is ready, but under normal conditions, not over Ramdin, at least, not yet.
Ramdin had it coming, however, and, as such, I wish Dowrich all the best at the start of his career as a West Indies wicketkeeper and batsman, batting at number seven.
The West Indies batting is such that it really needs a wicketkeeper who can bat, and bat well at that. The bowling is almost as bad, and it may need the helping hand of God during the four-match series.
The dropping of Ramdin appears “fishy”. For the improvement of the team, however, for the building of a winning psyche in the team, it may be a blessing in disguise.
Browne is a past West Indies wicketkeeper, and it probably took a wicketkeeper, now the chief selector, to realise that.
On top of that, the selection process is a part of cricket and, unfortunately, it is good on some days, and on some days it is not so good.
No one, however, ever reacted after being dropped as Ramdin did. He behaved as if he had a God-given right to selection.
Sometimes a good old cricketer, a former captain, has to give way to a promising young cub in order to prepare for the future, to build a team, and to build a winning culture.
It is as simple as that.
This may well be the case this time around, something that Hendriks, Murray, and Dujon, especially Hendriks, a former selector and manager, ought to know about.