Legendary West Indies off-spinner Sonny Ramadhin passed away on Sunday, February 27, at the age of 92 years. The Trinidad-born player was the first cricketer of East Indian origin to play for West Indies.
He made his international debut against England at Old Trafford in 1950 aged 20 and went on to make 43 appearances in the format in his career that spanned until 1961. In those matches, he amassed a total of 158 wickets, including ten five-fors and one ten-wicket haul.
One of his best performances came in 1950 against England alongside his partner Alf Valentine. The formidable duo clinched 59 wickets in the series that helped the West Indies team seal the series by 3-1, their first ever series victory over England. For his exploits, he was made one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1951.
His stardom continued, as he went on to give brilliant performances in his prime years, primarily against England. He took two five-fors against the team, his first two Test games, and became the first cricketer to achieve the feat.
Another of his memorable stints came in 1954 in their series against England when he picked up 13 wickets in the first to matches and guided the team towards victory. His best Test figures, however, came in 1957 when he cliched seven wickets conceding only 49 runs, which played an instrumental role in bundling England for 186 runs in the first innings of the First Test at Edgbaston.
“On behalf of CWI I want to express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Sonny Ramadhin, one of the great pioneers of West Indies cricket,” CWI President Ricky Skerritt said about the passing of the last survivor of West Indies’ 1950 set-up on Sunday (February 27). “Mr Ramadhin made an impact from the moment he first stepped onto the field of World Cricket. Many stories are told of his tremendous feats on the 1950 tour when he combined with Alf Valentine to form cricket’s ‘spin twins’ as West Indies conquered England away from home for the first time.
“This iconic tour is part of our rich cricket legacy, which was pioneered by Mr. Ramadhin and others of his generation. His English exploit was celebrated in a famous calypso – and is still remembered more than 70 years later. Today we salute Sonny Ramadhin for his outstanding contribution to West Indies cricket.”