West Indies middle-order batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan yesterday retired from all forms of cricket.
Sarwan made the emotional announcement at an official ceremony at the Stella Maris Primary School, the place where his association with the game began, when scoring two hundreds in an under-12 competition.
“It’s been an amazing journey, the 36-year-old told the gathering, while accepting that he had a lot more cricket left in him when his international career came to an abrupt end.
However, in terms of Guyana, Sarwan said he had a lot to offer, especially to the younger generation, but from an administrative standpoint, he pointed out that once the difficulties facing Guyana’s cricket were sorted out, he probably would play a part.
Sarwan, who made his first-class debut for Guyana against Barbados in the Red Stripe Cup of 1995-96 at the age of 15, had an international career that lasted 13 years.
He featured in 87 Tests, 181 One Day Internationals (ODI), and 18 Twenty20 internationals, ever since his Test debut against Pakistan at Kensington Oval, Barbados in May 2000.
Sarwan, who captained West Indies in four Tests, five ODIs and two T20s, finishes his career with a total of 11 994 international runs, spread across all three formats of the game.
During his official announcement, Sarwan thanked the Stella Maris Primary School, the Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC), and the many others who had contributed towards his career. He singled out former West Indies players, Roger Harper and Carl Hooper, as the two key persons who had major influences in his cricketing career.
Sarwan pointed out that his 105 at St John’s, which led West Indies to a record 418-run successful chase against Australia in May 2003, his 84 on debut against Pakistan, and his career-best 291 against England in Barbados in 2009 were the highpoints in his career.
He said that his maiden tour of Australia in 2000-1, turned out to be his lowest phase, making just three runs from five innings, before signing off with a half-century at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Born in Wakenaam, Essequibo, Sarwan revealed that former Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and former Australia fast bowler Glenn McGrath were the best bowlers he had played against, while the two teams were the most difficult ones, especially when playing them in their own backyards.
Sarwan’s career wasn’t short of controversies either. In 2005, he was one among several players involved in a contractual dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) over sponsorship restrictions by the new team sponsor Digicel which resulted in his missing the first Test against the visiting South African team, at his home ground, Bourda.
Later in the year, he joined Gayle in boycotting the Sri Lankan tour as the contractual negotiations were not resolved to his satisfaction.
Sarwan’s last appearance for West Indies came during the 2013 Champions Trophy, but he was promptly dropped after a couple of timid performances, against Pakistan and India.
During the ceremony director of sport Christopher Jones urged the students to emulate Sarwan’s achievements. Jones added that the National Sports Council was currently looking to reintegrate Under-12 cricket into the school system.
Sarwan was presented with a plaque and a cake, after which he presented an autographed bat along with Scotiabank Kiddies shirts and a Scotiabank Kiddies cricket gear bag, with bats, stumps and balls for the school’s Kiddies cricket team.
Sarwan was finally given a tour to the entire school.