FORMER Guyana and West Indies skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan yesterday told Chronicle Sport he is aiming to don the maroon colours once again, since he feels he has a lot more in him to contribute to West Indies cricket.
The 33-year-old Sarwan, who played 87 Test matches and scored 5 842 runs at an average of 42.01 with 15 tons and a highest score of 291 against England five years ago, had just enjoyed a wonderful net session with the national squad at the Everest Cricket Club ground, where he was seen stroking the ball confidently.
“I would just hope that Sarwan can come to the party. I think this tournament would be a decisive one for Ramnaresh Sarwan and the West Indies still need Sarwan, but Sarwan needs to be the Sarwan we know of old. His commitment to date has been good and we are looking forward for him to do well.”
Those were comments made earlier by the manager of the Guyana team for the past two years, Alvin Johnson, who is a former president of the Essequibo Cricket Board and vice-president (Administration) of the Guyana Cricket Board.
Asked to comment on such a statement, Sarwan, who has to date played 215 first class matches where he has scored 13 221 runs at an average of 39.11 with 33 tons said, “As long as I am playing I still think I have a chance of representing the West Indies and the people of this country and that is my ultimate goal.
“People would have their opinions and you cannot take that away from them. I just have to go out there and do what needs to be done in the interest of the team.”
Looking at the early preparation the team has been undergoing ahead of this month end’s West Indies Cricket Board/NAGICO Super50 tournament, the Chaplinesque right-hander said it has been a while since he saw a national team from Guyana undergo such intense preparations.
“I think over the year, this is the most intense preparation we’ve had.”
He added, “Quiet honestly, I think the only time we have trained so hard as a unit is way back in youth cricket days when Patrick Legall was the manager and even further back when Shiv (Chanderpaul) and those guys played and they had a group of trainers. But as a senior national team, it is the most intense I have undergone since I’ve been playing for Guyana.
“However, it is pretty good, everyone is working, helping out each other even though it is quite new to some of the guys, but they all seem to be enjoying it, even though they do get tired which is obvious, as we are all human.”
Quizzed on whether some of the guys who are being pushed beyond their limits can experience a ‘burnout’ ahead of the tournament, the soft-spoken Sarwan said, “I don’t know about the burnout aspect of it. I think most of the players have been playing cricket and they are fit.
“I think in terms of the training, the coaches or whoever is in charge of that will have to manage it to ensure there is no ‘burnout’ and so far they have been doing a pretty good job to date.”
“Obviously, I think it is an advantage in terms of us preparing early, as over the years we’ve had problems with the weather and stuff like that, so this early encampment gives us a chance to gel together more as a team and more importantly get some more cricket before the tournament starts.”
Guyana are grouped with defending champions Windward Islands, dethroned champions Jamaica and Ireland in Zone ‘A’ and are expected to leave for Trinidad and Tobago on January 28, while the tournament bowls off two days later at the Queen’s Park Oval, with Windwards taking on Jamaica.
The Guyanese, who last won a regional 50 overs tournament in 2005, when they defeated Barbados in the final of the inaugural WICB/KFC Cup at Bourda, will face the Irish in their first game on Friday January 31, at Queen’s Park Oval.
On Tuesday February 4 and Friday February 7, Guyana will go up against Jamaica and Windward Islands respectively, while the semifinals will be contested on February 12 and 13, and the final three days later after the second semi-final.
(By Calvin Roberts)