ST GEORGE'S, Grenada — Fresh from his magnificent, match-winning century on Sunday, Ramnaresh Sarwan is looking for more "significant contributions" as he continues his return to the game at the international level.
The experienced 32-year-old was recalled for the recent five-match One-Day Series in Australia, but he found the going tough. However, he responded with an impressive batting display on Sunday to guide West Indies to a seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe at the Grenada National Stadium.
The result gave the home side an unassailable 2-0 lead in the International Home Series 2013. The Windies won the opening match by 156 runs last Friday, and the two teams will meet in the final match today at the same venue.
Sarwan is the premier batsman in the West Indies squad, with 5,783 runs in 178 matches at an average of 43.48 runs per innings. He demonstrated his class and ability with a well-crafted 120 not out as he batted at the top of the order for just the second time in his ODI career. The knock was his career-best score -- as he surpassed the 115 not out against India at Warner Park, St Kitts seven years ago.
"I felt a burden lifted when I reached my hundred. I was lacking a little confidence before this performance, so I have my confidence back now. When I hit the first few (shots) out of the middle of the bat I felt good again," Sarwan said.
"I have been doing a lot of hard work. Everyone knows I didn't have the best tour of Australia, but I was determined to do well after I was given the opportunity to open the batting after Johnson Charles was unable to play," said the Guyanese.
"The management team and the captain asked me to do the job and move up, and for me I saw it as a great chance to bat 50 overs and get some runs under my belt. All the work I did in the nets with the coaches and the others who assisted me paid off. I just have to continue from here and look to get better and get back to where I was a few years ago when I was fully on top of my game," he added.
Sarwan added 111 for the first wicket with left-hander Kieran Powell, who made 57 and maintained his good form. Narsingh Deonarine (41) also played well in a partnership of 118 with Sarwan. After he fell, Kieron Pollard pounded 41 not out off 20 balls as the West Indies reached 274-3 off 49 overs in reply to Zimbabwe's 273-8 off their 50 overs.
"There are a lot of people out there who wanted me to do well and I want to thank them for their tremendous support. I have been working hard to reach this kind of level again and I am happy I was able to put in the kind of performance to help the team to success," he added.