A talented wicketkeeper-batsman, Denesh Ramdin has unmistakable skills with both the gloves and the bat, but hasn’t always used them consistently. Originally a fast bowler who then kept wickets when he had finished his stint with the ball, Ramdin’s overall cricketing acumen was spotted early, as he led both Trinidad & Tobago’s and West Indies’ Under-19 sides before being selected, aged 19 and with only 13 first-class games under his belt, as first-choice gloveman for the senior squad’s tour of Sri Lanka in 2005.
Ramdin impressed with his smooth and agile movements behind the stumps, and made a half-century on Test debut in Colombo. Ramdin scored a plucky 71 against an Australian attack, comprising Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill, later that year, in Hobart. When India toured the West Indies in mid-2006, Ramdin’s wicketkeeping was impressive on pitches where the ball often died even before reaching him. His batting was patchy, though a superb calculated assault on the Indian bowlers in the final stages of the Kingston Test proved a fine reminder of his prowess in that quarter as well.
However, over a period of time, his batting became increasingly inconsistent while his wicketkeeping dropped a notch from his earlier high standards. He did make his maiden Test century – 166 against England in Barbados – in March 2009, but that was followed by ordinary performances against Australia and South Africa, which led to him being dropped from the Test and ODI teams.
He eventually returned to the Test side on the tour to England in 2012 after an absence of almost two years. After not doing much with the bat in the first two Tests, Ramdin struck an undefeated 107 in the third Test, but soured the occasion by flashing a note addressed to Viv Richards, who had earlier criticised Ramdin’s lack of contribution on the tour. Though Ramdin apologised later, the act earned him plenty of criticism, and a fine of 20% of his match fee by the referee.
However, that century did revive his batting fortunes: in the next 18 months, from June 2012 to December 2013, Ramdin scored three hundreds in 12 Tests and averaged 53.61; in 44 Tests before that, he had averaged 22.28. His ODI form also saw a spike, in 2014, when he scored 516 runs in 13 games, studded by a 169 off 121 balls against Bangladesh in St Kitts in August – the highest score by a West Indies batsman at home, beating Desmond Haynes’ 152 not out against India in Georgetown in 1989.
In May 2014, he was rewarded with the Test captaincy, as West Indies decided to replace Darren Sammy. Ramdin led West Indies in 13 Tests, of which they won four, drew two, and lost seven, before Jason Holder took over. Ramdin’s tenure ended following West Indies’ 2-0 loss at home against Australia in 2015.
Ramdin continued to be one of the few players to represent West Indies in all three formats. In the tri-series at home against Australia and South Africa, Ramdin became the first West Indies wicketkeeper to aggregate 2000 ODI runs.
He was named by St Lucia Zouks as a replacement for the injured Fidel Edwards, for CPL 2016.