March 15, 2000

Zimbabwe in West Indies: Sarwan knocking hard

The West Indies Busta XI finished their four day match in Trinidad, against the touring Zimbabwe team this past Monday on a very strong note as Guyanese youngster, Ramnaresh Sarwan, slammed two centuries in a very comprehensive bid for West Indies selection. Upon winning the toss, Zimbabwe captain, Alistair Campbell, asked the home side to take first knock on a Guaracara pitch that looked like a batsman's paradise. The decision must have delighted the Busta XI batsmen for when they were finally bowled out for 349, both Ramnaresh Sarwan and Sylvester `Bouncin' Joseph had compiled two even centuries of extremely high class. Both batsmen were perfect foils for the other as they were relentless in their attack on the Zimbabwean attack. Henry Olonga was the main sufferer as he was milked for 103 runs from his 18 overs. Bryan Strang was the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 36.

The Zimbabweans initially started badly as Trinidadian, Marlon Black claimed two early wickets for just nine runs. However, the middle order batsmen in Trevor Gripper (30), Murray Goodwin (30), Alistair Campbell (158) and Stuart Carlisle (86) pulled the fight back together as they established a formidable total of 394 all out. Campbell played a captain's innings as he and Carlisle shared in a sixth wicket 160 run partnership. Marlon Black had a strong return of 4 for 87 and was ably assisted by Cameron Cuffy (3 for 70) who bowled with persistent aggression.

In their second innings, the Busta XI decided to bat out for some much needed batting practice. At the close on the fourth and final day the Busta XI were all out for a formidable total of 417. Sarwan once again played an innings of brilliance as he accumulated his second century of the match, this time a masterful 111. He was ably assisted, as in the first innings, by Sylvester Joseph who put together a solid 51. Darren Ganga (41), Rawl Lewis (62) and Cameron Cuffy (37) also aided the Busta XI's cause as they constructed a massive second innings total.

Sarwan has obviously submitted a huge claim for selection, as the selectors can obviously not ignore these centuries. Such a situation is food for thought as the WICB announced that they will not select outside of their 20-man squad, of which Sarwan is not a member, for the two test series against the Zimbabweans. It seems to be a poor move by the WICB as they are restricting themselves to 20 players in a home series. Why restrict yourself on home soil? Restriction should be avoided as much as possible, especially ahead of a two test series, which starts this Thursday, in which a new captain, manager and coach are to embark on a mission to revive West Indies Cricket.

West Indies 13 man squad for first test to begin on the 16th March: Jimmy Adams (captain), Ridley Jacobs, Curtley Ambrose, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Sherwin Cambell, Adrian Griffith, Courtney Walsh, Wavell Hinds, Reon King, Franklyn Rose, Nehemiah Perry, Chris Gayle, Ricardo Powell.

Thanks: The Anguillian (