Birmingham: Denesh Ramdin said criticism from West Indies hero Vivian Richards helped him score a superb century against England in the third Test at Edgbaston here on Sunday.
Having reached three figures on the fourth day – only his second hundred at this level – West Indies wicketkeeper Ramdin produced a piece of paper from his pocket on which the words "Yeah Viv Talk Nah" were written.
That was in response to comments from Richards, who said Ramdin had "deteriorated in such a big way" and looked a "totally lost guy" after making just one and six as West Indies slumped to a nine-wicket defeat in the second Test at Trent Bridge, a result that gave England an unassailable 2-0 lead in this three-match series.
But at Edgbaston on Sunday, Ramdin made 107 not out and shared an extraordinary last-wicket stand of 143 with Tino Best, whose 95 was the highest innings by any No 11 batsman in a Test match.
"Sir Viv had said something in the press and I think I got a bit emotional and it came out the way it did," Ramdin said after stumps on Sunday. "Having said that, he's a legend of the Caribbean and I still look up to him. If I see him anywhere, I'll still call him out and have a drink with him. His statement was a bit hurtful to me, I worked hard and I proved the critics [wrong]."
Ramdin, who said the statement had been in his pocket since Saturday," added: "I'd been out of international cricket for a while. It's something I love and I want to go out there and perform for myself, as well as my team-mates. I hadn't got runs in the last couple of Test matches and, against the number one team in the world, it was another motivation factor. He [Richards] said his part, I did what I had to do and I get on with it."
Ramdin and Best's stand was the third highest by any last-wicket pair in Tests and helped West Indies to 426 all out.
Fast bowler Best, playing his first Test match in nearly three years, then took two wickets for 37 runs later on Sunday as England closed on 221 for five – still needing a further 56 to avoid the follow-on.
Ramdin's innings was impressive but Best's 112-ball innings, featuring a six and 14 fours, was outstanding. "It was amazing the way Tino came out and played," said Ramdin. "He just went out there and played some unbelievable shots. I didn't think he had all those shots in his armoury."
Ramdin added Best had helped him keep him going between overs. "It was funny. He kept saying 'keep going big dog. You go out there, you get your hundred and then you bat with me to get my fifty'."
Ramdin, who was 63 not out when Best came to the crease, added: "I told him I'll be there when he gets his hundred, but unfortunately he got carried away."
The keeper praised Best's cricket ability by saying: "Once you give him that ball in his hand, he'll try to bowl 90mph every ball. With the bat in his hand, he believes he's an allrounder now. He's a good guy to have around."
Former West Indies captain Richards, commentating on the series for the BBC, said: "I'm not sure what Ramdin meant but he's played well and if you're given enough chances you're going to get it done. Let's not forget this is in a losing cause - the team's not winning. I'm on the other side of the fence now and I'm here to do a job – there's no sentiment in it. I'm glad that he got the motivation from it."