Cape Town: West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan had to persuade doctors to allow him to resume batting in Friday’s World Cup clash with Sri Lanka after he was felled by a Dilhara Fernando bouncer.
The diminutive righthander was first told by a neurologist that he should not return to the group B game, but he defied medical opinion to produce one of the most courageous innings of the tournament, scoring an unbeaten 47.
“The doctors told him that, in normal circumstances, you should not play again after a head injury, as a precaution,” said West Indies manager Ricky Skerritt, after his team had lost a thrilling match by six runs.
“But he wanted to bat again so we asked the doctor whether it might still be safe for him to go out if he was needed. And he said yes, once the tests cleared him of any neurological problems.”
Earlier, it seemed there was little chance Sarwan would take any further part after he was floored by a 137.5 kmph delivery from Fernando that climbed steeply off the Newlands pitch before hitting him flush on the left side of the helmet.
He lay motionless for almost 10 minutes while medical staff examined him before he was carried off on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance that rushed him to a nearby hospital for brain scans. “We were worried at first because it was a hard one,” Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya said.
“But, once we saw him talking, we always had it in the back of our mind that he might come back and change the match.”
Sarwan was cleared of any major damage but still needed two stitches to a gash behind his left ear, as well as painkillers for a throbbing headache.
But he was determined to come back and help his team, who were in desperate trouble at 169 for seven chasing a seemingly impossible 229 for victory.
Sarwan returned to a hero’s welcome and defied the pain to set up a thrilling finish with an unbeaten 47 at quicker than a run a ball. Despite Sarwan’s heroics, West Indies finished on 222 for nine and Sri Lanka won the game by six runs.