A still tongue, Denesh Ramdin would have heard over and over after the 2012 Test versus England in Birmingham, keeps a wise head.
I confess that, with my “Yea, Denesh, Hush Nah” and “A Right Royal Ramdin Ruckus” articles in the July and August editions of the Trinidad and Tobago Review, I was one of those from whom the unequivocal message came. But Edgbaston, to adapt a phrase from role model Jack Warner, was yesterday and the Oval is today.
The Trinidad and Tobago wicketkeeper/captain yesterday copped a two-match ban and was docked his entire match fee for offending against the spirit of the game. Interestingly, hauled over the coals for addressing himself to former West Indies captain and batting icon Sir Vivian Richards inopportunely a year ago, the current West Indian vice-captain got into hot water this time for not saying anything to newly appointed ODI captain Dwayne Bravo.
But Ramdin, I feel, shoulda open he blasted mouth and say he drop de darm ketch!
With his team on 20 for 3 and struggling to stay in the game against a rampant Kemar Roach, Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq flashed at a screamer from the Bajan paceman and got an under edge. An alert Ramdin dropped to his left and jubilantly pouched the chance.
Up went Umpire Steve Davis’ finger. The whole team celebrated wildly once the ball was in his gloves. Over number 9 and 20 for 4? We have dem Pakis way we want dem today!
To Ramdin’s consternation, however, the celebration proved premature; the ball escaped his grasp as he hit the ground. In full view of Umpire Nigel Llong standing at square-leg.
How the grass, the 28-year-old keeper must have thought to himself as he hastily sought to retrieve it, I go tell Dwayne and Roachie and dem I drop the blasted ball? Not me, nah!
He tossed the ball to Llong.
Yaaaaay! And he joined the celebrating throng. Pakistan grass dark today!
A signal from the square-leg umpire to his colleague led to a request for a DRS review. Predictably, the third umpire, Tony Hill, advised Davis to rescind his decision. Not out. Bat on, Mr Misbah.
And ganging up on poor, innocent Ramdin, Davis, Llong, Hill and fourth umpire Richard Kettleborough reported the hapless stumper to ICC match referee Chris Broad for “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game.”
Reacting, skipper Bravo called his vice-captain “a very honest player” and vaguely evoked the history of West Indian cricketing fairplay. In vain.
His opposite number Misbah declared in a post-match interview that he “would not be very happy if my wicketkeeper did that. (…) If you know clearly that it’s not a catch, you should not claim (it) because it’s not in the spirit of the game.”
“This is regarded as a serious offence as it is the responsibility of all players to act in the spirit of the game,” Broad’s verdict said.
For West Indian supporters, what is regarded as serious is that, WI was forced to use Johnson Charles as a makeshift wicketkeeper in today’s loss India. Charles will again have the responsibility of trying to read Sunil Narine’s carom ball in Friday’s decisive group fixture against South Africa; Ramdin, the only keeper in the squad, wisely decided against appealing the match referee’s decision.
“I hope Mr Ramdin has learnt his lesson from this incident,” Broad also said, “and that we will not see such behaviour by him or any player in the future.”
I have a feeling that, when South Africa yesterday inflicted a 47-run cut-tail on Misbah’s side, Mr Ramdin’s behaviour was nothing that Mr Broad would have liked to see.
And that “Shotter” already has a scribbled note in his pocket if, in spite of his potentially fatal error of judgement, the West Indians still contrive to make it into the next round.
And he makes an albeit unlikely century.