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Ramnarine: The Legend That Wasn't?

Mr Mxyzptlk

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I was in a nostalgic mood today, casting my mind back to various players from past days of cricket. It was a strange experience, because thinking back to players who were around just recently seems like a lifetime ago. It seems almost surreal to think of Sherwin Campbell and Adrian Griffith opening the batting together. And as I skimmed through Cricinfo profiles, whoever came to mind, I landed on Dinanath Ramnarine.

As Richard alluded to in the Steve Smith thread, wristspin is an extremely difficult art to master, or even be decent at. The vast majority of wristspinners amount to nothing in no time at all. For a legspinner to be any good is rare, and for him to be Test class even more so. For West Indies, spin in general has been a barren department, but Ramnarine was special- a wristspinner with control and brains. Not only was he a good spinner, but probably as close to a world class bowler as any West Indian this side of Ian Bishop.

It's a real shame that politics and prejudice denied him what could have been an outstanding career. At 34, who knows, he may still have had 3-4 good years left in him. 45 wickets in 12 Tests and 2.37 economy. Certainly comparable with the majority of spinners around in his time and since.

I don't expect any conversation to come from this essay of an opening post. I just felt the need to show some appreciation for the man.
 

tooextracool

International Coach
Not really a fan to be honest. Leg spin is a difficult art in that it is hard enough to land it on the square, but what people routinely forget is that even accurate wrist spinners have struggled to be successful. This is because, leg spin is more than just being accurate and turning the ball, it is about being able to encorporate the other variables such as flight, drift etc into your bowling. Brad Hogg was one of the most accurate wrist spinners around, but he couldn't buy a wicket at the test match level. Kaneria is similar. Ramnarine, like his left handed counterpart in the Carribean Dave Mohammed, simply didnt toss the ball up enough or have control over drift and loop to be successful at the test match level.

Perhaps had he played less against England and more against subcontinental teams or Australia his record might not be as rosy.
 

Mr Mxyzptlk

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I have to disagree with the assertion that he wasn't attacking enough. Ramnarine knew he wasn't Warne, but he was a very intelligent bowler. More so than protecting his record, I think he suffered from the lack of cricket on the subcontinent because he rarely got a chance to bowl in truly helpful conditions in the Caribbean. In Sri Lanka, for example, he bowled quite well. 10 wickets in 3 matches was a good return, but reports suggest he was better than that too.
 

aussie

Hall of Fame Member
Easily the best WI spinner i've seen. Was very impressive vs SA 2001, not sure what happened to him afterwards..
 

Lillian Thomson

International Coach
My main memory of him is being curiously awarded the Man of the Match in a Test against England in the West Indies. I remember it mainly because the award was given by Roy Fredericks who I hadn't seen for many years and he looked so old and frail beyond his years.
 

Mr Mxyzptlk

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Have heard this before, from my trini relatives. By i cant remember the details, run it by me again..
Short story is that he and Hooper had a fall out, with Hooper telling him that he'd never play for West Indies again as long as he was captain, or something similar. Although Hooper was replaced as captain, that wish came true. Ramnarine went on to be the outspoken vox populi.
 

MrIncredible

U19 Cricketer
Hooper!! What a waste of talent. Probably as naturally gifted as say a Lara but for whatever reason never quite fulfilled his vast potential
 

Mr Mxyzptlk

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Hooper!! What a waste of talent. Probably as naturally gifted as say a Lara but for whatever reason never quite fulfilled his vast potential
The West Indian Mark Waugh. And had a peculiar habit of seemingly sniffing his top lip whilst waiting for the ball to be delivered.
 

aussie

Hall of Fame Member
Short story is that he and Hooper had a fall out, with Hooper telling him that he'd never play for West Indies again as long as he was captain, or something similar. Although Hooper was replaced as captain, that wish came true. Ramnarine went on to be the outspoken vox populi.
Yea that was it. I have never seen even proof of that actual fallout though. But Hooper being axed as captain before the AUS home series 03, was ever more criminal.
 

Mr Mxyzptlk

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Yea that was it. I have never seen even proof of that actual fallout though. But Hooper being axed as captain before the AUS home series 03, was ever more criminal.
But in his final Test - against Pakistan in 2001-02 - he had an on-field disagreement with Carl Hooper, the captain, and he also rubbed some people up in his hands-on role as president of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA). He found himself marginalised, despite solid domestic returns, and he quit in frustration to pursue his WIPA role fulltime.
According to Cricinfo.

Hooper's never, to my knowledge, denied it either.
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
Perry was ancient by the time he got a Test spot though. If anyone seriously tells me Ramnarine merited a spot less than the likes of Nixon McLean, Marlon Black, Colin Stuart, the later version of Reon King who got recalled in 2005, or the many others who were even worse than the aforementioned, I'll give them a computer to eat. Whether he would have been an outstanding Test bowler is open to question but he certainly deserved the chance to have a crack far, far, far more than so many did.

And that's not even mentioning the fact that other spinners Mahendra Nagamootoo, Omari Banks and Gareth Breese were preferred to him, all of whom were in their different ways fitting the description "flattered by woeful". If someone told me Nagamootoo never turned a ball in his entire career I'd not be that surprised; if someone told me Banks bowled 2 consecutive overs with every ball landing where it would ideally do I'd be very surprised; and if someone told me Breese was aught but a useful bits-and-pieces domestic all-rounder they'd be fed with a computer as well.
 
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aussie

Hall of Fame Member
Indeed. Now that WI have 3 very good fast bowlers, Ramnarine as the spinner would have worked very well.
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
"Very good" at this present moment is stretching it rather. Taylor is decent, Edwards much-improved from what he was but still far from outstanding, Roach is very interesting but not yet possessed of all that much more than potential.
 

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