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What was Ramdin thinking?

6/12/2012

By Alan Harris

Some people talk while others perform. Denesh Ramdin is a talker. Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards is a performer. Ramdin is a patchy batsman at best. Richards is one of the finest the world has ever seen.

So its baffling as to how the 27 year-old Trinidadian arrived in his thinking that he could raise a message aloft chastising the ‘Master Blaster’ upon reaching only his second career Test century at Edgbaston on Sunday.

With the series against England already lost and the first two days of the final Test abandoned due to rain, Ramdin’s feat wasn’t even all that memorable.
He was also comprehensively out-shined by Tino Best, the No. 11 playing the innings of his life - a word-record 95 from 112 balls in a last-wicket stand of 143 with the man from Couva.
It was the highest last-wicket stand for the West Indies in Test match history and the third highest of all time. Its just a pity that Ramdin and Best couldn’t have swapped their scores with one another yesterday.

Judging from the emotional celebration when he reached his fifty, Best, playing in his first Test since July 2009, would have been overjoyed with the achievement of a Test ton. If he had scored five more runs, it would have been the first Test century scored by a No.11 batsman in the history of the game. As consolation, he misses out on immortality but still gets to sit atop the list.

Ramdin, on the other hand, was nothing short of smug.

Upon reaching the landmark for only the second time, he pulled out a white piece of paper from his pocket and held it skyward. With cameras focused, it read, ‘Yeh Viv Talk Nah’.
It was a moment of sheer misguided madness.

The untidily written note appeared to be in response to a criticism made by Richards, now a well respected commentator and analyst, who had remarked after the second Test at Trent Bridge that Ramdin’s career had stagnated. He was spot on.

The fact that Ramdin reacted when riled proved it.

“I’m not sure what Ramdin meant but he’s played well and if you’re given enough chances you’re going to get it done,” said Richards.

“He should be happy and humble. I think I remember saying he’d lost his confidence, but I’m on the other side of the fence now and I’m here to do a job - there’s no sentiment in it.
"I’m glad that he got the motivation from it. Let’s not forget this is in a losing cause - the team is not winning.”

Since making his international debut in 2005, Ramdin has played 44 Tests, scoring 1538 runs at an average of 22.28. His maiden Test century - 166 not out against England at Kensington Oval in 2009 - remains his highest score. It took him 33 matches and more than 50 innings to reach the milestone.

Again in 2009 he held up a note. But the tone of the message in Bridgetown was more modest - a simple ‘

Thank You’, aimed at the West Indies dressing room.

Maybe he should have done the same yesterday instead of taking a jab at a former captain and a man with over 8500 Test runs to his name. History will show that Viv, who averaged 50 in 121 Tests between 1974 and 1991, was one of the best ever to play the game.

When the day comes for Denesh Ramdin to retire, few, if any, will stand in awe of his achievements on the field. Most probably, many will forget the little wicket-keeper from Couva.
But the world stopped and applauded when Viv took his bow. Some even begged him for an encore. What does this say?

It says that Viv can afford to talk. Ramdin can’t. And history will prove it.

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