|Full name:||Ramnaresh Ronnie Sarwan|
|Born:||23 Jun 1980, Wakenaam Island, Essequibo, Guyana|
|Teams:||Guyana U19 (2in: 1995-1997); Guyana U19 (LO: 1998); Demerara (2in: 1999-); Demerara (LO: 2003-); Demerara (T20: 2010-); Guyana (FC, ListA: 1996-); Guyana (T20: 2006-); Guyana (T20: 2008-); West Indies (Test, ODI: 2000-); West Indies (T20I: 2007-); Gloucestershire (FC, ListA: 2005); Leicestershire (FC, ListA, T20: 2012); All teams|
|Club:||Georgetown Cricket Club|
|School:||Stella Maris Primary (Georgetown)|
|Indian Cricket Cricketer of the Year: 2004|
|Gloucestershire cap: 2005|
|Lists of matches and more detailed statistics|
Ronnie Sarwan has been one of the most outstanding Guyana and West Indies batsmen of all time. A classic batsman and useful leg-spinner, he has excelled as a finisher in one-day matches and a batsman with an appetite for large innings whenin good form. At the same time, however, Sarwan's career has been plagued by injuries, disputes and sometimes just pure bad luck.
With a penchant for being dismissed regularly while attempting the pull shot, Sarwan has taken blows to the head from many top paceman. Despite the many negatives stacked against him, however, Sarwan has seen periods of enormous success, along with even longer periods of substandard performances. As will be evident below, Sarwan's career has been anything but boring!
Born in Zeelandia Village, Wakenaam, in the county of Essequibo in Guyana, Ronnie Sarwan's family moved to the Georgetown suburbs when he was 4 years old. He started playing cricket in primary school in his pre-teen years, mainly as a leg-spinner and useful batsman. He later developed into a top class batsman and represented the Georgetown Cricket Club in local first division cricket.
Sarwan started playing youth cricket for Guyana at least since 1995. He became the youngest West Indies first class player on his debut for the senior Guyana team in 1996, impressing everyone with his poise. In 1997, he played for the West Indies in Youth World Cup in South Africa, after which he stayed on for the West Indies 'A' team tour there. To many observers, he was certain to play for the West Indies.
In March 2000, Sarwan hit 100 and 111 for the President's XI against Zimbabwe at Guaracara Park, but was overlooked for the two-Test series. He made his Test debut in May 2000 against Pakistan in Barbados, replacing Chris Gayle and scoring 84 not out in the first innings. Ex-England player Ted Dexter was so impressed that he predicted a Test average of over fifty for Sarwan.
Sarwan's excellent footwork on his first tour of England, in the summer of 2000 showed that Dexter's prediction was quite possible. During this Test series, however, Sarwan had to return home for the funeral of his girlfriend, who died of pneumonia at only 18 years of age.
In October 2000, the West Indies Cricket Board sent Sarwan to the Australian Cricket Academy in Adelaide for six weeks, during which he missed the ICC Knockout Tournament in Kenya. A horrendous first tour of Australia followed, in which Sarwan had scores of 0, 0, 2 and 1 in the first two Tests. Seemingly unable to cope with Brett Lee's pace, he was dropped for the next two, but returned in the fifth Test and scored 0 and 51.
He missed his first Test century when he was run out for 91 against South Africa at Bourda in March 2001 and in Harare when he was run out again, for 86 in the second Test against Zimbabwe, in July 2001. In November 2001, on the tour to Sri Lanka, Sarwan showed his class by standing up to Muralitharan, Vaas and company with Brian Lara and Carl Hooper. He had scores of 88, 30, 17, 48, 69 and 66 in the three Test matches.
Two series against India and one against New Zealand in 2002 brought five more fifties. Sarwan passed 50 fourteen times by the time he scored his first Test century, in his 28th Test, against Bangladesh in Dhaka, on 08 December 2002. He had scored his first ODI century a few days earlier against the same opponents, and both times Darren Ganga accompanied him to the century mark.
In February 2003 at the Newlands in Cape Town, Sarwan was hit on his ear by Sri Lanka fast bowler Dilhara Fernando in a crucial World Cup game. Retiring hurt with the West Indies score at 62 for 2, he resumed with the score at 169 for 7, and took his team to within six runs of victory before the overs ran out. Sarwan was left on 47 not out off 44 deliveries, with Collins on 1 not out at the other end.
Sarwan was appointed West Indies vice-captain in March 2003, before the start of the Australia tour. He, however, fractured a finger in his left hand and missed the first Test at Bourda. Australia won the first Test by 9 wickets, the second in Port-of-Spain by 118 runs, and the third in Bridgetown by 9 wickets again. The prospect of a series whitewash at home for the West Indies seemed imminent.
In the fourth Test in Antigua, Australia scored 240 in their first innings, to which the West Indies responded with 240. When Australia set the West Indies a target of 418 in two days, however, the whitewash seemed certain. No team had ever scored more than 405 to win a Test match before. Centuries by Sarwan (105) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (104) took the West Indies home in a memorable victory.
On the fourth day of this Test, an infamous incident between Australian fast bowler Glen McGrath and Sarwan occurred. Sarwan was setting about the Australian bowling when McGrath apparently taunted him. Sarwan's reply must have shocked McGrath considerably, for a toe-to-toe shouting match ensued immediately in the middle of the pitch, right before the TV audience. Fortunately good sense prevailed and both men were apologetic afterwards.
Sarwan got into trouble with the West Indies Cricket Board in March 2004, after he and Gayle were seen partying with fans on the mound at Sabina Park, right after West Indies crashed to 47 all out, their lowest ever Test score, and lost the first Test to England. Sarwan had made a pair in the Test.
In June 2004, at Sabina Park in Jamaica, Sarwan score 261 not out to help West Indies to defeat Bangladesh by an innings. This was the highest Test score ever made by a Guyanese, surpassing Rohan Kanhai's 256 at Eden Gardens in 1958. In February 2009, Sarwan raised the bar even higher for his countrymen by scoring 291 against England at the Kensington Oval, in Barbados. In between those two magnificent innings, however, Sarwan's career seesawed considerably.
West Indian fortunes were on the ascendancy in one-dayers, as they reached the finals of the NatWest Series and then won the ICC Champions Trophy in September 2004, with Sarwan playing a big hand in both tournaments. However, he was one of the players involved in the contract dispute (over sponsorship restrictions on players by new West Indies sponsor Digicel) with WICB and missed the first Test against South Africa in April 2005.
After the South Africa and Pakistan tours to the West Indies in the first half of 2005, Sarwan and Gayle refused to tour Sri Lanka with the West Indies team late in 2005, after the ongoing dispute, put on hold temporarily, was still not resolved to their satisfaction. While away from West Indies duty in 2005, Sarwan played first class and List A cricket for English county Gloucestershire.
Sarwan returned to the West Indies team for the tour of Australia in November 2005, but was unspectacular. In March 2006, on the West Indies tour of New Zealand, he tore a muscle in his left leg while fielding and had to return home after the ODI series and the first Test. A blow on the back of the helmet by Shane Bond in the first Test, that left Sarwan groggy for a while, did not help matters either.
Sarwan was rested for the Guyana first class season in early 2006 to help him recover from his injury. No sooner had he recovered, however, than he was involved in an auto accident in Georgetown, in May 2006. Unhurt, he declared himself available for that weekend's one-day international double-header against Zimbabwe in Guyana. Good batting in the Zimbabwe series put him in the ICC ODI top ten batting rankings.
On June 23, 2006, his 26th birthday, Sarwan hit 6 fours in a 6-ball over from Munaf Patel, in the third Test against India, at Warner Park in St Kitts. This feat was previously accomplished by Sandeep Patil (off Bob Willis, seven balls), Sanath Jayasuriya (off James Anderson, six balls) and Chris Gayle (off Matthew Hoggard, six balls).
Sarwan was dropped for the second Test in Pakistan in November 2006, because of a supposed slump in form, following Test scores of 116, 23, 7 and 51 (!). West Indies captain Brian Lara said it was a "wake up call". Sarwan was back in the team for the third Test, but sustained a foot injury which kept him out of the one-dayers against Pakistan and the tour of India.
On April 29, 2007 Sarwan became West Indies captain after Lara retired, following the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies. The first Test under Sarwan's captaincy, against England at Lord's in May 2007, was a high-scoring draw dominated by England. In the next Test a week later, Sarwan injured his shoulder when he collided with the boundary fence while fielding and was out of cricket for almost a year.
Sarwan returned to the West Indies side in 2008 for the home series against Sri Lanka, as vice-captain under Chris Gayle. Sarwan was in excellent form, scoring fifties in four consecutive innings, including a match-winning 102, at an average of 77.75. His good form continued in the 2008 series against Australia, also at home, in which he scored 65 and 128 in the second Test in Antigua, after Australia seemed set to win.
In the 2009 Test series against England in the West Indies, Sarwan's form went into overdrive. In the first Test at Sabina Park he scored 107 to help West Indies win by an innings, with England being routed for 51 in their second innings by Jerome Taylor. On 91, Sarwan became the youngest West Indian to reach 5000 runs in Tests. He also equaled the record for the most fourth innings centuries (7), along with Sunil Gavaskar and Ricky Ponting.
The second Test of the 2009 series, at North Sound in Antigua, was abandoned after less than two overs. In the third Test, at the Antigua Recreation Ground, Sarwan scored 94 and 106 as the West Indies held on for a draw with 9 wickets down. In the first innings of the fourth Test, at Kensington Oval in Barbados, Sarwan scored 291 to help the West Indies declare at 749 for 9, in a high-scoring draw.
After his monumental 291 Sarwan's form fell away, notwithstanding an even 100 in a losing effort in the second Test in England in May 2009. He did not represent the West Indies in 2010, amidst concerns over his fitness. He returned in 2011 but was far below his best (with scores of 23, 11, 20 and 0 in two home Tests against Pakistan and 3, 0, 18 and 8, also in two home Tests against India), and was dropped again halfway through 2011.
Problems developed between Sarwan and the Guyana Cricket Board in early 2012, resulting in him being omitted from the Guyana team. Matters were patched up with Guyana authorities and he returned for the second half of the Guyana first class season, but was again far below his best. His problem with the Guyana team led to his exclusion from the West Indies team, amidst allegations of unfair treatment.
Seriously troubled by his misfortunes in West Indies cricket, Sarwan was happy to join English county Leicestershire for their 2012 summer season, and his form improved significantly. After the end of the English season in September, Sarwan informed the West Indies Cricket Board that he was available to play for the West Indies. He was not named, however, in the West Indies team to tour Bangladesh in November 2012.
Sarwan's bowling action was described by ICC investigators, looking into international chucking problems, as the cleanest in Test cricket. Early in his career he wore a bandana over his forehead while batting. Like many other Guyana batsmen, he would mark his guard by pounding the end o a bail into the ground.
|West Indies U19||Testy||3||6||0||235||102||39.16||1||1||-||4|
|West Indies U19||ODIy||10||8||2||249||63||41.50||0||2||-||7|
|West Indies U19||Testy||342||15||178||0||0-18||-||-||-||-||3.12|
|West Indies U19||ODIy||480||5||257||19||3-12||13.52||0||0||-||25.30||3.21|