Tony Cozier: Ramdin's coming of age fuels Windies revival

These Tests have confirmed the West Indies are emerging from years of slackness

It wasn't in the script for the West Indies to be ahead in the series entering the last Test. England appeared to regard this as simply an uncomplicated warm-up for the real challenge of the Ashes series against Australia in the summer.

The West Indies would surely be brushed aside without a victory to show from 15 Tests and with their proud history besmirched by a two-day defeat and all-out returns of 47, 54, 61 and 94.

It was a misjudgement that paid no attention to the improvement of their opponents in successive series over the past two years against South Africa, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand. Perhaps they also overestimated their own strength.

The four Tests have confirmed that the West Indies are gradually emerging from their years of slackness and submission that have left them propping up the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings.

Over the past two years, they won Tests over South Africa in South Africa and Sri Lanka at home. They went down 2-0 but pressed Australia all the way in the Caribbean and have most recently drawn a series in New Zealand.

A few vital pieces have fallen into place.

Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor have established themselves as a genuine fast-bowling combination and Taylor's hundred against New Zealand in Dunedin in December convinced him that he possesses the ability to develop into an all-rounder.

Ramnaresh Sarwan has refound his groove, and how, after his brief lapse in New Zealand when, as he acknowledged, he wasn't "mentally right". Brendan Nash has given the middle order some necessary steel.

The West Indies could tick off another in this match, as crucial as all the others.

Denesh Ramdin's first Test hundred was a long time coming. His potential has been obvious since he was in the champion West Indies team in the under-15 international Costcutter Cup in 2000. He led the West Indies under-19 to the World Cup final in Bangladesh in 2004 and marked his Test debut in Sri Lanka the following year with high-class keeping and a measured half-century against Muttiah Muralitheran and Chaminda Vaas.

His subsequent performances, with gloves and bat, were inconsistent. He has never lost his Test place but the selectors have let him know their concerns by occasionally preferring other contenders for the one-day internationals.

Until his 163 on Sunday, he was the only contemporary Test wicket-keeper without a hundred. If his keeping standards seldom dipped, his batting average was down to 20, inadequate for No 7. The cause seemed to be a lack of confidence, a feeling that he wasn't capable of doing for the West Indies what he repeatedly did for Trinidad & Tobago.

Given Kensington Oval's co-operative pitch, an experienced and in-form partner in the prolific Sarwan and a limited attack, he put all that behind him. He won't suddenly reel of hundreds every time he goes in but the West Indies can feel more at ease with their No 7 than they did before he came to the middle at 334 for 5 on Saturday afternoon.

Not everything is yet in place, to be sure. But the West Indies can no longer be regarded as Test cricket's easy-beats, not least in the decisive final Test starting at the Queen's Park Oval on Friday.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public