Interview with WI Test captain Ramdin
Kaieteur News article.
Bridgetown, Barbados - Today, Sunday 08 June, 2014, Denesh Ramdin, Trinidad & Tobago and West Indies wicket-keeper-batman; 56 Tests, 2235 runs, avg. 27.25, 161 dismissals; 29 last March 13, takes over West Indies captaincy. We caught up with him last week.
Colin Croft (CC): Congratulations! How do you feel?
Denesh Ramdin (DR): Thank you very much. Happy and humble! This is a big opportunity, big task, but we must put in much work.
Darren Sammy did well as captain, with the resources he had. It is time for us to step up that ICC ladder instead of going down!
CC: Good Test career, but you have never been West Indies senior captain, even if you did captain West Indies Under 15 and Trinidad & Tobago. There is much experience there?
DR: Yes, playing with the likes of Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, I have gained much knowledge from them. Hopefully, I would transform that experience into my captaincy.
I have done it for T&T – ‘keeping, batting, captaincy – a big challenge, but if you have the right players who could manage themselves well, on the field bowling and batting, and off the field, then that makes a captain’s job easier.
CC: I was at Lords, 1995, when you captained West Indies Under 15’s. You have come through Under 19 and Trinidad & Tobago’s captaincy, doing exceptionally in T-20’s, representing well in Champions League, but this is big, captaincy of senior West Indies cricket team. It must be much different?
DR: Yes it is very different. Most of our recent successes have been at T-20’s in the Caribbean and at Champions League in India as well.
Strategic moves will be very different and important in Tests. Having the right bowlers, making the right changes, batting for very long periods.
We have the capability and we have to instill that belief in ourselves. Chanderpaul is there, but we need our top order to fire, which we did not do down in New Zealand. With home support and right confidence, we can turn it around here.
CC: Gerry Alexander was the last appointed captain for West Indies who was a wicket-keeper, with vice-captain Deryck Murray also deputizing when Clive Lloyd was unavailable.
Murray had Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Colin Croft, Malcolm Marshall, while Alexander had Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith and Lance Gibbs and Garry Sobers.
You now have to look for your team to back you up?
DR: Yes, but we have guys like Kemar Roach, Ravi Rampaul, Jerome Taylor, Jason Holder, the faster bowlers. We need to manage them well. Taylor is just coming back from injury, as is Roach. In spin, we have Sunil Narine, Shane Shillingford and Sullieman Benn.
We need the right combination. Everyone is excited at Gayle’s 100th Test, a really fantastic occasion for us to come out and shine too!
CC: Are you nervous?
DR: Yes, I am nervous, going out for the first time as captain to spin the toss. The good thing is that I will not have to make the call – heads or tails. That is less pressure on me for that.
CC: 100th Test for Gayle, a big occasion for him, Jamaica and West Indies, a big occasion for you?
DR: Yes, everyone is pumped! There will be many functions for Gayle’s achievements; a real legend of the game. Everyone knows him in T-20’s, but his record in Tests has been good, with triple centuries, double centuries, so he will come out to give his home crowd something to cheer, while making runs for us so that we would not lose the Test.
CC: As captain, not vice-captain, what do you bring that is special, even unique? What do you require from your team?
DR: Behind the stumps, I am very relaxed, with the best seat in the house, where I can make decisions when we are bowling. I am always calm, especially when we are under pressure. So, hopefully, with the senior players around, their support will help and guide me.
We must get through that first game in Jamaica well. Then I would be much more relaxed.
CC: 2nd Test is at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad & Tobago, your home ground, but West Indies cricket has been struggling, especially in Tests, in recent times. You, as captain, will have to start bringing the team back up to the top, a great responsibility.
DR: The up-and-down performances, losing Test matches, we must be more consistent. We need to bat better in both innings, just not in one innings, so that our bowlers could have something to bowl at. That has been our downfall these last years.
We will try hard to change that this series. If we do not get it right for 1st Test, we must do it in 2nd and 3rd.
CC: Go well, but what should West Indians expect from you and team?
DR: It would be an exciting series, my first as captain, Gayle’s 100th Test, Shiv’s 154th Test. We will not take them lightly, but will still play flamboyant cricket, while respecting New Zealand.
CC: Thank you.