West Indies news May 9, 2014

Ramdin focuses on mental challenge


Denesh Ramdin, West Indies new Test captain, is convinced there is the talent available in the Caribbean to revive their form over five days but they must overcome the mental frailties which have happened there attempts to climb the Test rankings.

He wants his team to play "smarter cricket" and is eager to impart his style of leadership and thinking, which he believes are the qualities the selectors have seen, on his team-mates beginning with the visit of New Zealand.

"For the last six to seven years, West Indies have gone off the boil in Tests because our opponents have out-thought us more. We need to think harder as a team," Ramdin told ESPNcricinfo. "The talent is there. The cricketing skill is always there but it's more mental with us. Since my West Indies U-19 experiences and Trinidad stints as captain, I've always focused and prided myself on proper analysis of the game and we need to improve on this to move up."

Ramdin is confident that he will be able to deal with the pressure, expectation and responsibility the captaincy brings having been vice-captain for five years but knows it will be an increasing challenge to ensure he continues to focus enough time on his own game, which is already to the dual role of being a keeper-batsman.

"Darren [Sammy] did well with the resources he had and many thanks to him but I'm relishing the challenge," he said, before the news of Sammy's retirement. "There will be ups and downs but I'm ready to balance it all. Over the past 12-15 months I've worked on my personal form and it remains the same - I want to help anchor the team and get the lower order to contribute more runs."

Ramdin was quick to pick out West Indies' batting as the area that needed immediate attention. "We need to bat better in both innings in a Test and not just one. We must have consistency because we've been faltering with the bat too much."

Ramdin mapped out his vision for the team on the pitch and said he felt the wicketkeeper's role was one that will benefit him in the captaincy. "I see a lot from behind the wicket - how the opposition bats to my bowlers - and this helps me in strategizing as it's the best view in the house.

"So now I have a more hands-on approach and more input to control things and to form tactics my way to get guys out based on what I see. This perspective would help in containing opponents and also, I get the best chance to assess the pitches constantly out there in the middle."

He sees the upcoming visit of New Zealand as a good litmus test as the teams are so close to each other in the Test rankings and because the teams have dominated each other in their respective home conditions over the past few years. Ramdin wants to overturn the losses suffered on tour of New Zealand, but despite beating them in the Caribbean on their previous visit has warned that they should not underestimate even though conditions are expected to favour West Indies' spinners far more.

With the captain involved more in team selection as per the recent mandates laid down by the WICB in accordance with the Pybus report, Ramdin said the door was open even to those who have been out of the Test side for a considerable time if they can show the required form.

This is particularly pertinent for Dwayne Bravo, who last played a Test in 2010 (or even first-class cricket since last year) but was termed "one of the best allrounders in the game and a matchwinner," who Ramdin "would love to have in the team as they have a great working relationship." Last month Bravo spoke of his frustration at having been overlooked for so long.

Ramdin also picked out Sunil Narine has having a key role to play in all formats, not just Twenty20, and said the likes of Bravo and Kieron Pollard can stake a claim for Test cricket although that will be difficult for the pair in the short term with Bravo currently nursing a shoulder injury and Pollard playing the IPL.

For now, Ramdin is starting to look forward to the Test series against New Zealand - the second match of which is in front of his home crowd in Trinidad. "The first Test in Jamaica is Chris [Gayle's] 100th so hopefully we can do well there and carry over the momentum to Trinidad. I am eager and happy to run out at home in front our fans."

Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. @RenaldoMatadeen

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ERROL on May 12, 2014, 23:55 GMT

    Are we going back to the days of insularity in which people only wanted players from their country to represent WI. The reason I say this is that Ramdin mentioned three players and they are all from his home country. The part I don't like is one is not established in the test team, while the other are not in the team. Look guys please select the best players regardless of where they are from, because it is the WI team and we all hurt when the team lose.

  • Dummy4 on May 10, 2014, 10:08 GMT

    Im disappointed Sammy retired he was unfairly critiicized. But Denesh Ramdin is the best man for the job. He has a cricketing brain and leadership qualities the problem is will he get the support from the players and others?

  • sachit on May 10, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    Agreed Sammy hasnt performed well in the test level, but he is a player who puts the teams priority at the foremost, is absolutely unselfish and gives his 100%. In short Sammy is a pure team player.Can the same be said of Ramdin?

  • Mughees on May 10, 2014, 8:05 GMT

    First of all I would like to congratulate Ramdin...On second thought I would like to direct my point to those fellows who were then criticizing sammy's appointment as captain and now they are demanding his return...Ramdin is by far the best option in carribean right now. I believe he can turn around westindies fortunes in this ignored format specially in the case of caribbean. He is an improved player and he has experienced alot behind the stumps for the past five years or so as a vice-captain. Mentality and application in this format are major problems that ramdin need to focus on... Sammy has been a tremendous figure for caribbean and he has shown us how to fight. He really deserves alot from westindies fans and no doubt his stints as a westindies captain in T20 are so far unquestionable. Good luck to him as well and everyone... Cheers!

  • mustaq on May 10, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    rubbish decision from WI cricket . why Ramdin ??? for test captain ?? is he capable to better keep & bat ??? no more .

    As WICB doing a very brute thing .Come back sammy as early as possiable .

  • Dummy4 on May 10, 2014, 3:48 GMT

    More none sense! Interesting; as a Trinidadian himself, the captain has only mention the selection of Trinidadians; despite I would always have Bravo on my side but my query is directed towards the no mention of Shane who is a better test bowler than Narine. The "difference" for West Indies cricket will always be the "same" because they keep looking for the "same failures" for the "difference".

  • Ravi on May 10, 2014, 2:56 GMT

    I'm sure there were bowlers who did better than J. Taylor in the recent tournament so I don't see the big fuss about J. Taylor he will end up just like Cotterell. Also I have no problem with replacing Sammy but I believe that there are others that need to be replace from the test team, like Samuels and Gayle. Their performance in the last two test was embarrassing.

  • Dummy4 on May 10, 2014, 2:32 GMT

    Good talk Ramdin and best of luck in the new job

  • Clifford on May 10, 2014, 2:25 GMT

    West Indies does not lack talent! What is severely lacking, is application. The reason T20 is more apt for Windians, is because it requires brief periods of concerted application. This does not apply to past, say, pre'95 cricketers. Current Windians seem more interested in blaze and glory. Notice the exuberance of celebrations, for minor achievements, much like American Football players for a basic block or a small run etc. The reactions are completely OTT in context with the achievement. This denotes a mentality that is easily distracted and geared to the' Look at Me' syndrome. Ramdin had the gall once, to try and show up Viv. Not saying he's that way now, at least I hope not. It's frankly amazing in a society that still has Clive Lloyd, that these cricketers flourish. Lloyd epitomizes everything any successful captain or cricketer should aspire to and he's not running everything. One can only be astonished at the density, evident!

  • Nathan on May 10, 2014, 2:23 GMT

    "our opponents have out-thought us more." - hmm, it seems to me that the WI's are drawn to attention seeking short form formats to me. It's a shame as it would be good to see them become a competitive test team again, but if the team has a showmanship culture then test success might be hard to find.

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