Darren Sammy’s near four-year tenure as West Indies Test captain is officially at an end. He has been replaced by Trinidad and Tobago wicketkeeper/batsman Denesh Ramdin.
Sammy, who served in the post from October 2010 to May 2014, was relieved of the position by the West Indies Cricket Board today and late this evening there was speculation that the affable St Lucian all-rounder had informed the WICB that he was effectively retiring from Test cricket.
Sammy, who made his Test debut against England in 2007, has played 38 matches, scored 1 323 runs at an average of 21.68 with one century and five fifties. He also captured 84 wickets at an average of 35.79 with four five-wicket hauls. But despite being credited with solid leadership ability and bringing a sense of stability to the captaincy after the imbroglio between former skipper Chris Gayle and the WICB, his poor international record made his position
in the Test side increasingly tenuous.
Cricket commentators, including the likes of fast-bowling legend Michael Holding, noted Sammy maintained a play only as captain, was not good enough for Test cricket and created an imbalance in the line-up which often led to West Indies playing with Sammy’s elevation to the captaincy position also resulted in the Test careers of the likes of One Day International captain Dwayne Bravo being stalled for the past four years. Bravo only last week expressed his desire to play Test cricket once again.
Sammy’s tenure, the highlight of which was winning the 2012 Twenty20 ICC World Cup, ends with the West Indies rated eighth in the world in both Test and One-Day Internationals. Sammy will retain captaincy of the Twenty20 side, currently ranked seventh in the world.
Today the WICB confirmed Ramdin’s elevation to the top post. Ramdin was the standing West Indies Test vice-captain and previously served as West Indies Under-19 and “A” Team captains. The 29-year-old has played 56 Tests in addition to 109 One Day Internationals and 46 Twenty20 Internationals.
The board of directors of the WICB approved the recommendation which was made by the West Indies Selection Panel chaired by Clyde Butts and with Robert Haynes, Courtney Browne and head coach Ottis Gibson as members.
President of the WICB, Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron said that the board was refocusing its attention on getting maximum performance for each format
of the game and now was an ideal time to make the adjustments as it adopted the recommendations from the report done by the director of cricket.
“We thank Darren for his energetic and resolute leadership over the past four years and we continue to see his role as the Twenty20 captain as a critical one. The board has approved the recommendation of the selection panel. We wish Denesh consistent success and commit the full support of the Board as he takes on the mammoth responsibility of Test captain,” Cameron said.
Ramdin said he was honoured by the confidence placed in him.
“It is an honour to be named as captain of the West Indies Test team. This is a huge opportunity and as a unit we are capable of representing the people of the West Indies,” Ramdin said.
“It is something very special to represent the people of the West Indies and to be named to lead the Test team and chart the course forward is humbling and extra special. I thank the WICB for affording me this incredible opportunity and I also thank the TTCB for the opportunity to lead Trinidad and Tobago.
“I am taking over from Darren who did a good job while he was at the helm. He is a very humble and hardworking cricketer and during his time at the helm we won six matches and he gave his all to the job.
“My first assignment will be against New Zealand at home and this promises to be a very exciting series. I am a very calm individual and I will bring that level of calmness to the job and to the team as we look to move forward and build a winning Test team which will make the people of the West Indies proud.”
Sammy offered his support to Ramdin in a public comment.
“Congratulations to Ramdin on being named Test captain. God’s speed brother as you look to take us forward. Thanks to all for the support,” Sammy stated.
Ramdin’s first appointment in his new role will be the West Indies versus New Zealand Test in Jamaica starting on June 8th. The second Test at the Queen’s Park Oval will be his first as Test captain on home soil.
Ramdin is only the second West Indian wicketkeeper to have been formally appointed Test captain following Gerry Alexander. (Ridley Jacobs was named captain for a series against Bangladesh when Carl Hooper was injured.) Since his return to Test cricket in 2012 Ramdin has scored 728 runs at an average of 42.8 with three centuries.
The appointment of Ramdin as Test captain is also historic as it is the first occasion on which the West Indies will have three separate appointed men’s international captains.
Ramdin’s position will be up for review in 2015. (WG/windiescricket)