Big challenge: New West Indies captain, Denesh Ramdin.

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RAMDIN HUMBLED

New WI skipper says ‘weight on my shoulders now’ — Page 62

By Roger Seepersad

Trinidad and Tobago skipper Denesh Ramdin said he was both “excited and humbled” after receiving the news that he was selected as West Indies Test captain ahead of the home series against New Zealand.

The board of directors of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) approved on Thursday, the recommendation made by the West Indies selection panel chaired by Clyde Butts with Robert Haynes, Courtney Browne and Head Coach Ottis Gibson as members.

The 29-year-old wicketkeeper/batsman confirmed that he received a call from West Indies Cricket Board president Dave Cameron on Thursday night informing him that he will be the new West Indies Test skipper, taking over the reins from all-rounder Darren Sammy who will remain at the helm of the Twenty20 team.

“I don’t know if it is good or bad,” the wicketkeeper joked, when contacted by the Express yesterday, adding “the president Dave Cameron contacted me last night (Thursday night)...He said they appointed me captain now.”

Ramdin said he is aware of the expectations of fans from across the region, especially after the team’s failed World T20 campaign and their miserable tour of New Zealand at the end of 2013.

“It is a good opportunity to go out there and captain the West Indies cricket team. I must say it is a great honour representing all these                                                                                        people in the Caribbean and I know they all want to see us do well. It is a lot of weight on my shoulders now,” Ramdin explained.

His first order of business is the three-Test series bowling off next month.

“It is going to be a big challenge but at the same time I think I am going to enjoy it. There are a lot of senior players around who I can call upon to get some advice. The good thing is that we are playing at home and we will have that home support, but we are going to play very hard cricket,” he said.

“We had the better of them the last time they were here--we beat them 2-0--so that will be in the back of their minds.

“But they beat us when we played in New Zealand but the pitches were different, with the ball swinging and seaming                                               around.

“Here in the Caribbean we don’t get much of that. We will be getting a lot more assistance for the spinners and we have better spinners than they have and hopefully we can exploit that. They have some good batsmen, Ross Taylor and the captain (Brendon McCullum) and those guys who batted long and hurt us the last time. Hopefully we can overcome them this time,” the new West Indies skipper added.

He said the prospect of moving up the Test rankings is a big motivating factor for the regional team and that will be their main focus when they tackle New Zealand.

“I think it is going to motivate us more to get that push to move forward and go up the Test rankings. That will be our goal...to beat this team and go ahead of them in the Test rankings. It is not going to be easy with three Test matches but if we can do well in Jamaica and go 1-0 up in the series, it will take a lot of pressure off,” he added.

In a WICB media release yesterday, Cameron said that the Board is refocusing its attention on getting maximum performance for each format of the game and now is an ideal time to make the adjustments as they adopt the recommendations from the report done by the Director of Cricket, Richard Pybus.

“We thank Darren (Sammy) for his energetic and resolute leadership over the past four years and we continue to see his role as the Twenty20 captain as a critical one,” Cameron said via a media release yesterday. 

“The Board has approved the recommendation of the selection panel. We wish Denesh (Ramdin) consistent success and commit the full support of the Board as he takes on the mammoth responsibility of Test captain,” Cameron said.

Sammy offered his support to Ramdin in a public comment saying: “Congratulations to Ramdin on being named Test captain. God’s speed brother as you look to take us forward. Thanks to all for the support.”

Ramdin’s appointment as Test captain is also historic as it is the first occasion on which the West Indies will have three separate international captains.

The position of Test captain will again be up for review in 2015. 

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