Ramdin may rue his rant against Richards


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The Independent Online

Denesh Ramdin is a man prepared to stand up for himself. The West Indies wicketkeeper had a point to make and to do so, he chose to pick a public fight with probably the most famous name in Caribbean cricket.

When Sir Viv Richards speaks, cricketers listen. Many would consider his words and remain silent. Yet when the great batsman said Ramdin looked "a totally lost guy" after the tourists were beaten in the Second Test at Trent Bridge, the Trinidadian was wounded. So wounded that when he completed his second Test century yesterday, he dropped his bat, pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and thrust it above his head.

Ramdin had written "Yeh Viv Talk Nah," a message which means something like "Take that, Viv". His anger was clear, and while it cannot be easy for the West Indies team to hear the criticisms of the greats of the past, Ramdin could have responded in a more measured way.

Nevertheless, his was a fine effort for a team who have endured a chastening series. The final-wicket pairing with Tino Best, who scored a wonderfully boisterous 95, was worth 143 and provided a shining moment in a match rendered forgettable by the rotten weather. Why tarnish it with a futile attempt at point-scoring?

Richards is a co-commentator for Test Match Special, so he had an immediate opportunity to answer Ramdin. Had he been able to listen, Ramdin might have winced as Richards dismantled his argument in the way he used to demolish bowling attacks. "I'm here to do a professional job from the other side of the fence about what I see. There is no sentiment," he said.

"I'm not sure what [Ramdin] meant. This was a long time in coming and certainly if you are given enough chances, in the end you will get it done. This innings was in a losing cause [England have an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series]. If you score a hundred and your team win the game, then that's excellent stuff, but the team's not winning [the series]. He should be happy and humble to have scored a century.

"If your football team are losing 5-0 and you score a goal in the last minute, you shouldn't be jumping for joy. I would not be happy with that: I set my standards a little bit higher. I'm glad he got the motivation to get himself going."

Ramdin said later: "I got a bit emotional and it came out the way it did. His statement was a bit hurtful to me but having said that, he’s a legend of the Caribbean and I still look up to him."

Ramdin is fond of the written message. When he scored his other Test hundred, in Barbados in 2009, also against England, he thanked his former West Indies players, Ian Bishop and David Williams, and his sometime team-mate Ramnaresh Sarwan.

Such tributes are welcome as they reveal a sportsman who understands and appreciates those who have steered him the right direction. Yesterday's rant, on the other hand, betrays only petulance. Unless Ramdin's international career improves dramatically (before this match, his average was 22.28 from 44 Tests), it is likely he will be remembered for the note in the pocket.

Furthermore, Richards' original criticism of Ramdin was inspired by his frustration at a talent unfulfilled. Ramdin's application held his team together, and while Best's innings delighted the spectators, Ramdin also played an important role.

Best is an emotional character and it was noticeable that Ramdin sought to talk to him on numerous occasions to ensure his team-mate kept his cool. When Best, who profited from some oddly defensive field settings by Andrew Strauss, started to settle, Ramdin recognised the situation quickly and allowed the fast bowler to have the majority of the strike.