Sarwan calls time on cricket career
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC):
Former West Indies captain Ramnaresh Sarwan has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket after making 286 international appearances for West Indies.
Sarwan, 36, made the announcement on Thursday during a ceremony at the Stella Maris Primary School in Guyana, where he launched his career by scoring two centuries in a now-defunct Under-12 competition.
Also a former Guyana captain, Sarwan was given a hero's welcome as students lined up and chanted his name on arrival.
"Sarwan always loved cricket. I remember when he was just 10, he was first picked for Stella Marris. He was in third standard and got the Man of the Match award, making 49 in the final," recalled Surendra Khayyam, Sarwan's vice-captain at Stella Marris.
Sarwan, who made his first-class debut for Guyana against Barbados in the Red Stripe Cup of 1995-96 at the age of 15, had an international career that lasted 13 years.
He featured in 87 Tests, 181 one day internationals (ODI), and 18 Twenty20 internationals and boasts 15 Test centuries.
"Carl Hooper saw me at Georgetown Cricket Club when I was 14 and told me that I would play Test cricket," said Sarwan, who launched his Test career in 2000 by scoring 84 against Pakistan in Barbados.
"That inspired me to really train and work hard, and here I am today."
Sarwan has identified the high points of his career as his 105 in Antigua which led West Indies to a record 418-run successful chase against Australia in May 2003, his 84 on debut against Pakistan, and his career-best 291 against England in Barbados in 2009.
"When I made the Guyana team at 15, my roommate was Keith Semple. I was being peppered by the pacers since I was a little boy from Wakenaam, and I was intimidated by guys who were big and tall and did not do well," recounted Sarwan, who captained West Indies in four Tests, five ODIs and two T20s, and who finished his career with a total of 11, 994 international runs, spread across all three formats of the game.
"I was batting well in practice, but I was afraid to play shots in the games. Semple said I should bat the way I batted in the nets, and I started to do that."
Sarwan's career was not without controversy.
In 2005, he was one of seven players who were dropped for the series against Pakistan and South Africa following a contract conflict between individual sponsor Cable and Wireless and the team sponsor Digicel.
Sarwan's last appearance for West Indies was during the 2013 Champions Trophy, but he was dropped after poor performances against Pakistan and India.