Former West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan will mentor the West Indies side ahead of their next month’s tri-nation ODI series against Bangladesh and hosts Ireland, and the World Cup following it.
Sarwan, who retired in 2016 after a 13-year long international career, has already joined the ongoing week-long training camp in Barbados ahead of next month’s trip to Ireland.
Incidentally, Sarwan was not part of the support staff announced by Cricket West Indies (CWI) on Monday for the Ireland tour and the World Cup. However, Sarwan has been roped in specifically to work with the batsmen. It is not yet clear whether he will travel to the UK for the World Cup.
Sarwan said the offer had come from former West Indies wicketkeeper Jimmy Adams, who is CWI’s director of cricket. Although it’s a short stint, Sarwan said he was “overwhelmed” by the assignment.
“I am very excited to be here,” Sarwan said. “When I received the call from Jimmy, I was very overwhelmed at being asked to assist West Indies cricket again.
“I have come here to act as kind of a mentor to the players and try my best to assist them in any technical ways and with any shortcomings where I think they can improve, and to offer as much help to the head coach, Floyd Reifer, and his coaching staff.”
Following retirement, Sarwan has been residing in Florida. In an interview with ESPNcricinfo in 2016, Sarwan said the biggest thing in West Indies cricket was the absence of a good cricketing structure that would help the young talent grow.
Now, Sarwan has been given the opportunity to do exactly that and he has already identified areas where he can contribute. He spent time with batsmen Darren Bravo and Shai Hope in the nets on the second day of the team’s training camp, currently underway at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies, on Tuesday.
Sarwan pointed out that one of the key areas he wanted the batsmen to focus on was strike rotation and stated that it would take them time to improve it.
“I know our batsmen have struggled in the past with rotating the strike, so I am trying to see how best we can get them to improve in this area,” he said. “It’s not an overnight fix, but it’s important to share ideas with them, so that they have something to build on.”
Reifer, who was recently appointed as the interim coach following a review of West Indies’ coaching and selection policies led by newly-elected president Ricky Skerritt, outlined the importance of having someone like Sarwan around the team ahead of the big tournament.
“It was very important to have him here,” Reifer said. “Sarwan was a player that was outstanding for West Indies. A very good batsman. A very good ‘finisher’ in limited-overs matches. We thought that a guy like Sarwan, coming into the camp with us whilst planning for the World Cup, would bring a wealth of knowledge.
“We are hoping he can help the batsmen get a better understanding of how to finish games, the mindset, how to approach batting first, how to approach batting last, so we thought that kind of knowledge was very important to share. He fitted in very well. He did a lot of talking and a lot of work with the batsmen.”