Sonny Ramadhin (born 1 May 1929) is a former West Indian cricketer, and was a dominant bowler of the 1950s. He was the first of many West Indian cricketers of Indian origin, and was one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1951.
Biography and career
Ramadhin was born in Esperance Village, Trinidad and Tobago, in 1929. His birth certificate had no first name, simply the descriptive “Boy”. This easily turned into Sonny, giving rise to his “official” name. He was introduced to cricket at the Canadian Mission School in Duncan Village, Trinidad, but did not bowl while in school. Under the captaincy and coaching of Oscar Roach, who was also born in Esperance Village, he later played for the Palmiste Club and the Trinidad Leaseholds team where he showed remarkable bowling prowess. His trials for the West Indian team were two first-class matches bowling for Trinidad versus Jamaica where he took 12 wickets at an average of 19.25 , . This performance led to his selection for the 1950 tour to England at the age of 20.
He and fellow spinner Alf Valentine dominated the English batting in the 1950 series, taking 59 wickets between them. West Indies won the series by three matches to one, which was their first series victory in England. When England returned to the West Indies in early 1954, Ramadhin took 13 wickets in the first two Tests and was instrumental in West Indies’ victory. He was the first bowler to take two five wicket hauls in his first two test matches against England, Mehedi Hasan of Bangladesh becoming the second one in 2016.
Though he was a wrist-spinner, Ramadhin’s leg-break hardly turned; hence the description of him as an “off-spinner”.
In the 1957 tour of England Ramadhin still exerted his hold over batsmen, taking 7/49 to dismiss England for 186 in the first innings of the First Test at Edgbaston. The West Indies made 474 and Colin Cowdrey joined Peter May at 113/3 in the second innings, still 175 runs behind. May and Cowdrey ruthlessly padded away any ball from Ramadhin outside off stump, where they could not be given out leg before wicket. May made 285 not out and Cowdrey 154 and together added 411 runs in 511 minutes, the third highest stand in Test cricket at the time, the highest for the fourth wicket until 2009, the highest stand ever made for England and the highest stand against the West Indies by any team. Ramadhin was forced to bowl a heartbreaking 98-35-179-2, the most overs by a bowler in a first class innings, and was never the same force again. England won the series 3-0.
He has lived in England since coming over to play league cricket in the 1950s. In 1964/65 he played for Lancashire, terminating his contract abruptly when he lost form. From 1968 until 1972, he represented Lincolnshire in the Minor Counties Championship. His grandson, Kyle Hogg was a right-arm medium-fast bowler who played for Lancashire between 2001 and 2014.
In June 1988 Ramadhin was celebrated on the 75c Trinidad and Tobago stamp alongside the Barbados Cricket Buckle.