Charles in charge

. . . after Denesh Ramdin is suspended by the ICC

Johnson Charles (left) today going through some drills prior to his wicketkeeping duties tomorrow.
Johnson Charles (left) today going through some drills prior to his wicketkeeping duties tomorrow.

West Indies will have to enter tomorrow’s important ICC Champions Trophy encounter against India at Cardiff without their only specialist wicketkeeper on tour, Denesh Ramdin.

This follows Ramdin being suspended for two One-Day Internationals and fined 100 per cent of his match fees for breaching the Players’ Code of Conduct during a match against Pakistan at the Oval on Friday. Ramdin was found guilty today at a hearing adjudicated by ICC match referee Chris Broad.

The incident took place in the ninth over of Pakistan’s innings, when Pakistan captain Misbah ul-Haq bottom-edged a Kemar Roach delivery to Ramdin. He initially appeared to have caught the ball but lost control of it as he fell forward, and it slipped out of his gloves on to the grass. Instead of bringing his mistake to the notice of the umpires or his team-mates, Ramdin returned the ball to the square-leg umpire and joined his team-mates in the celebratory huddle.Square-leg umpire Nigel Llong, however, alerted the third umpire and the replay revealed the chance had been dropped. Misbah, who was on 0, was called back and went on to hit an unbeaten 96.

Today, Ramdin, who had pleaded not guilty to the ICC charge, accepted the punishment and declined to appeal the sanction, a course of action he could have taken within 24 hours. Had he appealed, Ramdin would have still missed tomorrow’s game as he would not have been allowed to play pending the appeal.

“This is regarded as a serious offence as it is the responsibility of all players to act in the spirit of the game,” Broad said today. “I hope Mr Ramdin has learnt his lesson from this incident and that we will not see such behaviour by him or any player in the future.”

West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo had defended Ramdin after the incident, noting his team-mate and fellow Trinidadian did not act deliberately. Bravo indicated that Ramdin was an honest player and stressed that neither Ramdin nor West Indies players in general had a history of dishonesty in the game or playing against the spirit of the game.

The charge against Ramdin had been laid by the on-field umpires Steve Davis and Llong, third umpire Tony Hill and fourth umpire Richard Kettleborough. Today West Indies’ team trainers were busy getting opening batsman Johnson Charles prepped to replace Ramdin for tomorrow’s game.

The belligerent opener, though he has never kept wicket at the international level, is not a total novice to the skill. He has occasionally kept wicket for his native St. Lucia and the Windward Islands, doing so as recently as this year’s WICB’s regional 50-overs tournament. Part of his routine today was getting accustomed to taking deliveries from the wily off-spinner Sunil Narine.

With Charles behind the stumps and Ramdin’s absence, a spot has opened up in the line-up and team management will have to decide on whether to include former skipper Darren Sammy or either of the pace options of Tino Best or Jason Holder. Suggestions are that Best’s extra pace could get him the nod though Sammy would help to bolster the lower order batting.

Coach Ottis Gibson said today, though, that his team would be concentrating on maximising their strengths rather than concentrating on India’s perceived weaknesses against short, fast bowling. India exited the World Twenty20 in England in 2009, after several batsmen had their techniques exposed, and the same deficiency also contributed to their downfall in England in 2011, when they lost the Test series 4-0 and the ODI series 3-0.

“The last time we used short-pitched bowling, it was Joel Garner, Colin Croft, Michael Holding and people like that. We don’t have those tall guys anymore, so as we saw against Pakistan, we pitched it up, we swung it a little bit and we put it in the right areas. I suppose that will be the strategy going forward,” he said.

Gibson noted that the experience which some of his players had playing alongside and against their opponents in the Indian Premier League would be an important resource for the West Indies.

“Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and especially Sunil Narine have been starring in the IPL, so hopefully they’ve got a lot of information to share when we get back this evening. We’ll have a really good discussion about the Indian players and stuff like that, and those guys will form part of the main part of that discussion,” he said.

Indian captain MS Dhoni also acknowledged that one of those players in particular would be of concern to his team.

“The Gayle factor, it will always be there. He is one of those individuals that have a big impact on the game. It’s always good to get them out early. Our fast bowlers will have a fair chance in that they’ll have two new balls to get him out. Overcast conditions, maybe a bit of help from the wicket. It will be an interesting game because what’s important is to realise if you don’t get batsmen like Chris Gayle out, most likely he’ll take you out of the game,” Dhoni said.

Tomorrow’s game starts at 5.30 a.m. Barbados time.

West Indies (likely) Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles (wk), Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Dwayne Bravo (capt.), Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine, Kemar Roach

India(likely) Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav. (WG)


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