Ramdin regrets attack on Richards
Viv Richards bowed to no one. His opponents, mostly bowlers, often paid obeisance to him. They did so not only out of respect but also out of fear that he might hit back powerfully with bat in hand. Denesh Ramdin now knows the feeling.
Ramdin, the West Indies wicketkeeper-batsman, after reaching his second Test century, reacted by unfolding a plain white sheet of paper from his trouser pocket on which was scribbled in capital words "YEH, VIV, TALK NAH." It was a retort to Richards' scathing assessment of his deteriorating form after he had managed only 51 runs and kept wicket inconsistently in the first two Tests.
At the end of the day's play, though, an embarrassed Ramdin admitted he had gone overboard and that his statement, which he had prepared on Saturday morning, was an "emotional" one.
"Sir Viv had something in the press," he said. "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."
Richards, a former West Indies captain, who is in England as a radio commentator, had lost his patience with Ramdin, whose scores in the series read 1, 43, 1 and 6 respectively. This from a man who had promised at least three fifties and possibly even a century before leaving the Caribbean.
"I can't remember the statement quite clearly, but it was a bit hurtful to me," Ramdin said. "I went to the nets, worked hard, came out and proved myself to the critics."
When Ramdin does walk up to Richards to apologise, he had better do it from a safe distance because Richards seems miffed at being dragged into an unnecessary incident.
"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," Richards told ESPNcricinfo. "I questioned his ability because he had lost his confidence and thereby lost his shape."
Richards said Ramdin's emotive gesture after reaching the century was unnecessary, especially because West Indies have already lost the series.
"It is like being in a football match and your team is losing 5-0 and up comes a guy, scores a goal and starts jumping out of joy.
"He has played well and if you're given enough chances you're going to get it done. He should be happy and humble. I think I remember saying he'd lost his confidence, but I'm on the other side of the fence now and I'm here to do a job - there's no sentiment in it. I'm glad that he got the motivation from it. Let's not forget this is in a losing cause -- the team's not winning."
Opinion is growing that Ramdin should be disciplined. Michael Holding said Ramdin had gone down in his estimation and called for the Trinidadian to be given a dressing down and fined. By now Ramdin, recalled to the West Indies squad after a two-year absence, will have recognised that his reaction overshadowed the quality of his second Test century.
He also scored his maiden Test century against England, in a high-scoring draw in Barbados. West Indies played 29 Tests between then and the start of the England tour; Ramdin missed 18 of those. At 27, he is one of the most experienced player in the West Indies squad.
Marlon Samuels had raised a solid platform on Saturday with a brilliant fifty, but his departure, an over before the second new ball was taken late in the evening, gave England the required opening to widen the cracks. Ramdin, who had been emboldened quickly by Samuels during their crucial 56-run sixth-wicket partnership, took on the onus of shepherding the lower order.
Even Ramdin would not have been prepared for the fairy tale that Tino Best was scripting at the other end.
"It was amazing the way that Tino came out and played. He played some unbelievable shots. I did not think he had those shots in his armoury. He expressed himself. That's the way Tino plays."
Best not only listened to his senior batsman, he kept the atmosphere lighthearted and helped Ramdin to relax. "He kept saying: 'Keep going, big dog. You go out there, you get your 100 and then you bat with me to get my 50.' I told him I'll be there when he gets his hundred but unfortunately he got carried away and he didn't get there."
There was one other man who got carried away and Ramdin knows to his detriment who that is. His statement will no doubt make the cricket book of infamous quotes. Richards might go on to pardon him but each time Ramdin takes to the crease, he needs to deliver. If he fails, someone out there will be ready with a paper displaying the words: "YEH, DENESH, TALK NAH!"
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo