T20 World Cup 2021: Comeback man Ravi Rampaul hoping to make a mark

Ravi Rampaul, who last played for the West Indies six years ago, says he is up for any challenge as he looks forward to making a mark at the T20 World Cup.

West Indies fast bowler, Ravi Rampaul, during the World T20 in 2012. - AP

Six years ago, when Ravi Rampaul donned the West Indies colours for the last time, he was 32. By then, he had proven his mettle and was considered a genuine match-winner who played a key role in West Indies’ 2012 T20 World Cup win.

But over the last few years, he was missing from the radar and was playing county cricket for a number of seasons as a Kolpak player. While those stints with Derbyshire kept him in the competitive cricketing environment, Rampaul returned to the Caribbean Premier League this year and emerged as the highest wicket-taker with 19 scalps in his kitty.

Featuring for Trinbago Knight Riders in 10 outings, he maintained an average of 16.21 and an economy rate of 7.96. And the 38-year-old surprised observers with his accuracy and effectiveness in the Powerplay and the death overs.

While West Indies gets ready to defend its T20 World Cup title, a fit and recharged Rampaul, too, is looking forward to making a remarkable comeback. The selectors sprung a surprise by naming him in the Caribbean squad for the big-ticket event, and Rampaul is leaving no stone unturned to turn it into a memorable outing.

'Very happy'

“I am very happy to be back playing cricket for the West Indies after six years of playing English county cricket. The experience gained there will definitely help me in this World Cup,” Rampaul told Sportstar.

While the conditions in the United Arab Emirates could be challenging for the bowlers, Rampaul is not quite worried. Having played in the T10 League here before and training with the Mumbai Indians in the recently concluded Indian Premier League, he is optimistic about making the most of the conditions.

While he was away from the international arena, a lot has changed for the West Indies - the side won the T20 World Cup in 2016 and there has been an emergence of several young talents. Rampaul is happy to see a competitive and bustling team environment.

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“The changes I have seen are some of the young players like Shimron (Hetmyer), (Nicholas) Pooran, (Obed) McCoy making a name for themselves and performing not only in the West Indies but throughout the world in the various leagues. Also the experienced guys in the squad are really sharing their knowledge,” Rampaul said.

'Up for any challenge'

Being a seasoned campaigner, Rampaul understands that there could be initial challenges in getting accustomed to the set-up, but he is confident that he can deliver whenever the team needs him to.

“Whatever role the team requires me to play, I’d try my best. I’m up for any challenges - bowling in the power play, middle overs or the death. I’m experienced enough to deliver in those situations.”

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“My performance in the CPL this year has definitely boosted my confidence. I’ve worked hard working up to the CPL and it paid off,” he said, adding that he hasn’t tweaked his action over the last few years. “Not really any tweaks, I strive for execution whether it be yorkers, or slower balls.”

While he was out of the West Indies squad for long, Rampaul kept himself busy with cricket and that helped him keep going. 

”I didn’t have much down time. I was busy playing all formats of the game in a very professional setting which is English county cricket,” he said.

From being one of the most talked-about bowlers to going off the radar, Rampaul has seen the ups and downs in his career, but as another major opportunity beckons, he is looking forward to making the most of it. 

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