New York has become the refuge for many overseas cricketers in summer time, but for Ryan Ramdass, he is not here to play for money, only to rehabilitate.
Three years ago the attractive right hand batsman was destined for big things in West Indies cricket.
At 20 years, Ramdass made his Test debut for the West Indies after an excellent showing in the Regional domestic four-day competition.
But in an unfortunate turn of events, Ramdass became a target for injuries few young cricketers have had to deal with.
It is why he finds himself in New York now instead of scoring runs in the KFC One Day series or preparing to represent Guyana in the multimillion dollar Stanford Twenty/20 Cup in January.
The career threatening injuries have laid the low the youngster for more than a year, which would’ve killed the spirit of many players his age.
But Ramdass is a fighter, he is not giving up and will battle for his recovery to the very end. Already he is experiencing positive signs, since arriving in the Big Apple last month.
One year ago, Ramdass tore two ACL tendons in his left knee that required major surgery. His surgeon gave him six months for full recovery, but after 12 he was still unable to take the field.
It followed a prior surgery on his right shoulder’s rotator cuff and in between he suffered a broken ankle and one to his collarbone.
In a matter of 18 months Ramdass was struck down by four major injuries that have denied him vital exposure in among other competitions, the inaugural multi-million-dollar Stanford Twenty/20 Cup.
It started in Sri Lanka where the young Guyanese made a fairy-tale entry to the West Indies Test team in 2005.
He was on tour of the country with the West Indies `A’ squad when a bust-up between the West Indies Players Association and the West Indies Cricket Board resulted in a major withdrawal of players from the regular Test squad.
Ramdass and others on the touring `A’ team were made abrupt replacements and he clinched his debut in the second Test.
But it was after he damaged his rotator cuff in the team’s warm-up game prior to the first Test. Yet despite intense pain he accepted selection for the second Test.
On his return home Ramdass had surgery and almost immediately after resuming his career he broke his ankle in a fielding accident.
And as fate would have it, the youngster suffered the knee injury once he returned to competition last September and it remains the most serious of the four injuries. Ramdass said he was representing his club Everest in a Twenty/20 game when his shoe stuck in the turf while attempting a catch that caused his body to twist without the shoe turning in unison.
He had the operation for the ruptured tendons in December 2006 and when his improvement did not accelerate he came to New York where he has since felt some improvement. Therapy sessions here might have helped as Ramdass says he is enjoying greater movement. He even had his first game in more than a year last weekend.
But it seems like light years away from the time the youngster burst on the scene with three centuries for Guyana in the 2004 Carib Cup four-day competition.
The decision to expand the series that year which doubled the number of games for each team, proved a blessing for the right hander.
He had failed in his first six innings and was actually dropped for the game against Barbados, before being re-inserted into the squad due to the late withdrawal of an original player, on the morning of clash, in Barbados.
“I had told my friend Mahendra Nagamootoo that I would score a century if I played and it so happened I got the chance,” Ramdass disclosed.
After making 57 in the first innings, Ramdass found his mettle in his second chance at the crease and cracked his maiden first class ton, an unbeaten 144 off a hostile Bajan pace bowling attack.
“The guys were bouncing me a lot and I took a lot of hits, but I did not let it bother me.”
He followed up with another century at home in the return game and for good measure added another three-figure score against Trinidad and Tobago to conclude the competition.
Ramdass ended with 502 runs from nine games and clinched selection on the West Indies Chancellors XI that played the touring South Africa squad and for the West Indies Rest team that competed in the President’s Cup limited overs championship.
Good performances resulted in him making the `A’ team to Sri Lanka before his world turned on its head.
An aggressive, stocky top order batsman, Ramdass was introduced to cricket by his father who has been his coach since seven years old.
He has played only for one club in his life at Everest and showed early promise that earned him selection on the Guyana Under-19 that played in the 2001 Regional championship.
His short international career so far has left the young batsman with fond memories which he aims to resurrect next year.
Playing against the world’s most prolific wicket taking spinner Mutthia Muralitharan in Sri Lanka is an experience he will never forget.
” He is impossible to read from his hand. We tried to read him off the pitch by judging the balls pitched on the leg stump as the doosra and the off spinners as the ones pitched on the off.”
By this time next year the exciting stroke maker hopes to be on his way back into contention for West Indies selection.
His father Roy, mother Nadranie, sister Nishelle and fiancée Anessa Hussain, who the player is highly grateful to for their support, feel so too.