Denesh Ramdin is in a special class when it comes to notes and tweets.
The manner in which the veteran West Indies wicket-keeper/batsman revealed on Twitter that he has been dropped from the team for the four-match Test series against India starting July 21 in Antigua shows blatant immaturity for the second time in four years.
Such behaviour is a breach of his contract, punishable by a fine. He has breached the Code of Conduct.
While there has been no official announcement of the team (at least up until this afternoon), Ramdin, a 31-year-old Trinidadian, said on Twitter on Wednesday that the “new chairman” told him that his average was not good enough.
Courtney Browne, a highly successful former Barbados captain who also represented West Indies as a wicket-keeper/batsman, was appointed chairman late last month, replacing the outstanding former West Indies skipper, Guyanese Clive Lloyd. And mind you, Browne has been a West Indies selector for six years.
Although he did not refer to Browne by name, Ramdin was clearly upset at reasons given for his omission, stating that his last two Test innings on the 2015-16 tour to Australia had produced half-centuries.
“Last two innings over 60 v Australia Down Under but not good enough to play anymore,” he tweeted.
In 74 Tests since his debut against Sri Lanka in July 2005, Ramdin has 2898 runs including four centuries and 15 half-centuries, at an average of 25.87.
A closer examination of his performances with the bat since the 2014-15 series against South Africa would, however, reveal scores of: 14, 4, 20, 53 and 0 v South Africa (in South Africa); 9, 57, 31, 28, 13 and 0 not out v England (in the Caribbean); 19, 3, 8 and 29 v Australia (in the Caribbean); 23, 11, 14 and 10 v Sri Lanka (in Sri Lanka); 8, 4, 0, 59 and 62 v Australia (in Australia).
Hence, an aggregate of 479 runs from 24 innings including one not out (ave: 20.82).
“What a rainy day, lil heads up for shotta 80 fans wouldn’t be playin in Test series vs India. New chairman says my avg isn’t gud. Life goes on man God is great, what I haven’t done in my Test career for sure is dropping any batsman to score a double hundred vs WI.”
It was a clear reference to Browne’s missed chance of the Australian batsman Steve Waugh on 40 en route to 200 at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica in the 1995 Test series.
With Browne having scored 387 runs including one half-century (ave: 16.12) in 20 Tests between 1995 and 2005, Ramdin took another swipe at his record.
“Man who’s telling my average is bad with 25.87 but his is 16 telling me about batting and has never scored international hundred shameless,” Ramdin tweeted.
Such tweets were uncalled for.
There is a selection committee comprising of Browne, Courtney Walsh, Eldine Baptiste and head coach Phil Simmons. The captain also sits in at meetings but does not have a vote. As chairman, Browne is responsible for informing a player of certain decisions taken and would have gone about his job in a professional manner.
To react in the way Ramdin did brought back memories of his puerile behaviour in 2012 in the rain-hit third and final Test against England at Edgbaston. Overjoyed at recording his second Test hundred in the face of what he reckoned had been harsh criticism from Sir Vivian Richards, the former West Indies captain and ace batsman, over his performances with the bat and gloves in the first two Tests which West Indies lost, Ramdin produced a piece of paper from his pocket with the words: ‘Yea Viv, talk nah’.
It came at a time when fans should have been savouring a West Indies record last wicket partnership of 143 between Ramdin and Tino Best and led to tremendous debate locally, regionally and internationally.
The commentators on both television and radio, where Richards was working as an analyst for the BBC, had their say.
Ramdin was clearly out of order, like he is now again.
What followed was a 20 per cent fine of his match fee from the ICC, an apology by Ramdin and endless discussions on the matter. The fact that Best, picked for his fast bowling, playing what was his only Test of the series and indeed his first since 2009, made 95 off 112 balls with 14 fours and one six to record the then highest score by a No. 11 in Tests, seemingly took a back seat. So, too, was Ramdin’s unbeaten 107.
The stand was the highest for the last wicket in West Indies Test history and the third best of all time.
But it was Ramdin’s note to Richards that ultimately became the talking point. Having scored only 51 runs and kept inconsistently in the first two Tests, Richards had expressed his disappointment with Ramdin’s showing.
On reflection, Ramdin conceded he had gone overboard and that his statement was an “emotional” one.
“Sir Viv had something in the press. I think I got a bit emotional and it came out the way it did. He is a legend of the Caribbean. I still look up to him. If I see him anywhere I will still call him out and probably have a drink with him,” Ramdin said.
“I can’t remember the statement quite clearly, but it was a bit hurtful to me. I went to the nets, worked hard, came out and proved myself to the critics.”
The ICC charged Ramdin with conduct contrary to the spirit of the game, and he pleaded guilty to the offence.
“We all understand the importance of celebrating a milestone, however, one should not use that time as an opportunity to hit out at one’s critic or send messages to the world,” said Roshan Mahanama, the match referee.
“I hope Mr. Ramdin has learnt his lesson from this incident and that we will not see such behaviour by him or any player in the future when celebrating an achievement within a game of international cricket.”
The response from West Indies captain Darren Sammy was also telling. While describing the fine as “unfortunate”, Sammy said his players respected past achievements.
“We as a West Indian team have a lot of respect for our past players especially somebody so great as Sir Viv. We all take a lot of inspiration from Fire in Babylon which reflects our history. I know Ramdin will probably have a word with him and I hope there is no love lost. And we will move on and continue respecting our great past players,” Sammy said.
Richards remarked: “I am the one who touted him as a future captain for West Indies and always thought of him as good but his form had dipped quite recently and I addressed those issues. I questioned his ability because he had lost his confidence and thereby lost his shape.
“That innings was a long time coming. If you are given enough chances then you will get it done.”
We all know that Ramdin went on to captain West Indies in 13 Tests before he was replaced by fast bowling all-rounder Jason Holder of Barbados last September.
As one who should know what responsibility is all about, his latest comments were most distasteful. He would be lucky to escape without a fine.
Keith Holder is a veteran, award-winning freelance sports journalist, who has been covering local, regional and international cricket since 1980 as a writer and commentator. He has compiled statistics on the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Division 1 (now Elite) championship for three-and-a-half decades and is responsible for editing the BCA website (www.bcacricket.org). Holder is also the host of the cricket Talk Show, Mid Wicket, on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation 100.7 FM on Tuesday nights. Email:Keithfholder@gmail.com