SOURCE: CMC — West Indies pacer Ravi Rampaul says he is fit and ready for the grind of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s Twenty20 (T20) World Cup, starting today in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
The Windies selection panel sprung a major surprise when they announced Rampaul was part of the 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup.
The 36-year-old Trinidadian will be making an international comeback after six years on the sidelines, spent mostly playing under a Kolpak deal in England.
“In every team that you want to play for you have to put performances out there and I know that I needed to work hard to show the selectors that I am still able to take wickets and be competitive at a high level,” Rampaul said during an online media conference on Saturday.
“I think I put the performances out there and showed them that I am still performing on the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) stage and the West Indies Super50.”
He added: “It has been six years away playing Kolpak cricket in England – four-day, One-day, and Twenty20. I have been playing year-round and since the Kolpak regulation has changed in England, I have come back to play CPL.
“I have been gathering experience throughout those years and, hopefully, I can use it in this T20 World Cup coming up.”
At his best, Rampaul moves the ball both ways at a brisk pace, and he can handle the pressure of bowling in the powerplay overs at the start of a T20 innings and the closing overs.
For a long time, though, it seemed he might never fulfil his potential at international level as he did little of note in his first six years of international cricket because of injury, mainly shin splints.
Though he said he was far better able to manage his fitness nowadays, lead selector Roger Harper revealed that Rampaul needed a medical exemption from the strict Cricket West Indies fitness requirements before he was selected.
“With the experience I have gained, I know exactly what my body needs to perform,” he said. “At a younger age I did not know, I just wanted to continue to play cricket every day.
“But the experience I have gained playing over the years, I know exactly how I need to train, the set of gym and running work I need to do. So, with that experience I feel I am better prepared for more games.”
Another major talking point for West Indies ahead of the T20 World Cup was the selection of several senior players, including Chris Gayle, 42, Dwayne Bravo, 38, and Rampaul but the pacer said the knowledge and experience that the group brings to the squad could pay massive dividends.
“I think, going into big World Cup games, you will need experience, and the team that was selected is a lot of experienced guys, but there are a lot of young guys as well,” he said.
“We have a lot of guys that have played around the world in different conditions, and we know that games come quick and fast.
“The experienced guys will know moreso how to manage themselves to play back-to-back games or every other day with recovery and getting such stuff done, so that experience will help us throughout this tournament.”
West Indies begin the T20 World Cup against England next Saturday at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in a rematch of the 2016 final.
They have been drawn in Group 1 and will also face recent opponents South Africa and Australia, as well as two teams that advanced from the qualifying round in the first week of the tournament.