Sarwan “tremendously honoured” to be cricketer-of-the-year
• Keen to bounce back after injury By Sean Devers
Kaieteur News
December 14, 2006

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West Indies star batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan is even more inspired, having received the Clive Lloyd trophy (as the country's senior cricketer-of-the-year) for the third time since he became the region's youngest first-class player in 1996.

The 26-year-old collected the coveted hardware from Lloyd who was guest speaker at the Guyana Cricket Board's annual awards ceremony on Tuesday night at the Umana Yana in Kingston .

“This is a tremendous honour since there are many quality players representing Guyana at the regional level. It is good to know your efforts are being noticed and this award inspires me to strive to do even better next year,” Sarwan expressed proudly.

Forced to return home after being struck on the right foot by a delivery from fast bowler Umar Gul during the third test in Pakistan, Sarwan, with 4,268 runs from 65 Tests at an average of 38.80, informed that he should be able to start walking ‘pain-free' within the next 10 days to a fortnight; disclosing that the injury is about 85% healed.

“The West Indies is expected to depart on January 16 for India and I am hoping that maybe I could play in the Carib Beer second round game against Trinidad and Tobago from January 12… but I don't want to rush back into a match too quickly and aggravate my injury,” Sarwan, who has scored 21 first-class tons from 156 matches, said.

The garrulous middle-order batsman who made his debut in 2000 against Pakistan was appointed Guyana 's senior team skipper for the first time in the final Carib Beer preliminary round encounter against the Windward Islands in Grenada and recently led Guyana to the US$1M first prize in the inaugural Stanford regional 20/20 tournament in Antigua .

“I led Guyana at the under-19 level, but although I was appointed Vice-Captain of the West Indies side I had never captained Guyana at the senior level. It is always a privilege leading your country and getting as much captaincy experience as I can will better prepare me if I have to do the job for the West Indies,” Sarwan pointed out.

He described leading Guyana this year as a great experience and stressed that he received full support from the entire squad, especially in the 20/20 competition, which he described as “an exhilarating tournament which tested the mental and physical aspects of your game”.

Sarwan who scored centuries against Trinidad and Tobago and the Windward Islands in the Carib Beer competition before registering a century against India in the Caribbean in his 100th one-day international, expressed disappointment with his form during the latter part of this year.

“I began the year with success for Guyana and against India and I thought I was batting well…. but somehow things did not work out for me towards the end of 2006 and I am really looking forward to next year…. of course, the importance of trying to win the World Cup at home is the burning desire of all the guys,” the right-hander said emphatically.

Sarwan's biggest disappointment for 2006 was his omission from the West Indies team for the second test in Pakistan .

“Well to tell the truth I was very surprised and disappointed when I was dropped but I look at this period as a test of my character. It is now a matter of me taking a positive stride and returning as a better cricketer and mentally stronger person.

It is a privilege to represent the West Indies but that privilege comes with plenty of responsibility and the need to remain focused on doing the right thing consistently.

“Maybe this (omission) has helped me to become a more mature person who can now get on with the task of performing well consistently and helping West Indies get back to the top,” he opined.

Sarwan, who has already played 115 ODIs scoring just under 4,000 runs, feels the upcoming World Cup could be the most important period in West Indies cricket, both on and off the field, and disclosed that his biggest joy would be playing a part in the West Indies winning the prestigious tournament at home.