The cool head behind the heir apparent

The most common conjecture in world cricket, apart possibly from when and where on earth the England and Wales Cricket Board might find somebody mug enough to take over as chief executive (answer: only heaven knows), is that Ramnaresh Sarwan will one day be captain of West Indies.

Indeed, Sarwan is almost matter-of-fact in treating it as a when-not-if question. His response last week bore an uncanny resemblance to his reply to the two, three and probably 103 times the query had been posed before.

"It would be a dream come true for me to be captain and I guess when the time is right I will be appointed," he said. "I'm sure that it's not going to be any time soon, but when the time is right."

Sarwan probably recognises that this is the politically correct answer but is otherwise tosh. He could easily have been captain by now had, one, Brian Lara carried out his threat to quit; or, two, the selectors decided - as they might well have done - that it is time for a change. Before the England tour, sound judges said Sarwan should have the job, and it is unfeasible that it can go on much longer like this. West Indies are 2-0 down to England, facing a whitewash, and have to go to Australia in the winter.

The heir apparent, however, seems sincere when he extends his backing to Lara's maligned leadership. The dreaded vote of confidence was issued at around the same time by the team manager, Tony Howard. "I like batting with Brian," Sarwan says. "He's the centre of attention at the crease, which tends to give me the advantage. We get along pretty well, we have a decent relationship."

They have shared 11 century partnerships, the most recent two above 200, including the rumbustious 209 at Edgbaston last week when Sarwan scored a delightful 139.

But the fact that West Indies are in a mess can have escaped nobody. Sarwan has been there watching it unfold since he made his debut at 20 (he first played for Guyana at 15, a boy from the South American rainforest). Not only does he appear unfazed, he also claims to be convinced that renaissance is at hand.

"We've been playing pretty much up-and-down cricket, but there is nothing much that can be done at the moment. Obviously we've got to get ourselves out of this hole, but we haven't been able to adjust to different situations so far.

"It's frustrating that we're not playing the cricket we want to and are capable of. We need a couple more years to get ourselves sorted out. We need better facilities in the Caribbean and also to get the players mature mentally."

One glimmer of hope for West Indies is that the majority of the team are under 25. Whatever happens now, Sarwan wants the squad to stick together so that they can mature together. He categorically denies that there are divisions in the team, or rows in the dressing room, and insists that they are "giving their hearts to West Indies cricket", although on occasion this summer it has looked as if some of them have left their hearts in San Francisco.

That they have given a convincing impression of negligence and lacking lustre in the field he excuses by reasoning: "Because of the situation we are playing catch-up cricket. It's hard to restrain yourself and not be disappointed when a team are scoring 400 runs a day. It is very difficult but I don't think anybody in the team thinks about losing."

Sarwan concedes that the team's attitude might have been wrong in the recent past. He himself was accused of partying in the wake of their large defeat (all out for 47) against England in Jamaica earlier this year.

"For the past couple of months we've worked hard enough. We've come a long way in terms of working and dedicating ourselves. There was a concern and I think we were a bit strange and strayed away from the gym, but in recent times we've made sure we've used the facilities we've been given. Maybe a couple of years ago we didn't have the right attitude. I think I've matured a lot."

All recent West Indies captains have fallen - Richie Richardson, Jimmy Adams, Carl Hooper, Lara himself before returning - and whoever takes over next is destined for a rocky journey. Yet Sarwan is relaxed about the raw talent around.

Take Sarwan himself. His strokeplay is enchantingly fluid, his average is now past 40 (and in a dud team, do not forget) and he is feisty when the going gets rough. Last year he scored 105 in West Indies' epic run-chase of 418 against Australia and was involved in a spat with Glenn McGrath. The images of the truculent pair went round the world, McGrath towering above the smaller man. It seems that McGrath started it and Sarwan might have overstepped the mark in his barbed reply. The point is that he refused to be cowed by Aussie bullying. But he may need to adjust a mercurial temperament.

"I would love this team to be remembered as the one that got West Indies back to the top," he says. "I don't think there's a shortage of talent, but we have to get the players to understand how important West Indies cricket is, and that it's not going to be easy."

He said that regional rivalry, a traditional cause of unrest in Caribbean cricket, did not exist within the squad. "I'm Guyanese, but when I'm in the West Indies I'm representing six million people." Six million people whose hopes and expectations he will one day be carrying on his shoulders.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football Polish side was ejected from Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone