RAVI RAMPAUL is one of five players on the current West Indies T20 World Cup team who was part of the title-winning squad in 2012.
He, alongside WI skipper Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Chris Gayle were all part of the victorious team that year. Nine years later, the quintet has reunited in chase of a historic third T20 World Cup title for the maroon.
The WI however, are defending champions having won the title for a second time in 2016. This year’s tournament bowls off in Oman on Sunday with group stage qualifier matches but the WI get their campaign underway against England next Saturday.
The T20 World Cup will be Rampaul’s first time in six years suiting up for the maroon. He last represented WI in November 2015. Since then, he has played for Surrey and Derbyshire in English county cricket.
In 2014, he was part of the Barbados Tridents team which won the Caribbean Premier League T20 tournament and finished as runners-up the following year.
This year, after making his return to regional cricket, the fast-medium bowler Rampaul also played an integral role in helping the TT Red Force to its 13th Super50 title in February. He made his debut performance with Trinbago Knight Riders at this year’s CPLT20, and he finished as the leading wicket-taker (19).
Rampaul anticipates his return to WI cricket and believes his performances of recent, partnered with years of playing on the English circuit, have set a good platform for him to perform well at the T20 World Cup.
“In every team you want to play for, you have to put the performance out there. I know I needed to work hard to show the selectors that I’m still able to take wickets and compete at a (high) level.
“With the experience gained playing over the years, I know exactly how I need to train and the sets of gym and running work I need to do. With that experience, I feel a bit better preparing for more games,” he said during Saturday’s zoom media briefing.
The pacer, who turned 36 on Friday, believes the Windies team is a well-oiled unit with much experience in the shortest format of the game. The energy is high in the team camp, he said, and players are eager to go out and compete.
The team’s morale has been given an additional boost ahead of the competition as an in-form Bravo will join the squad fresh off his Indian Premier League victory with Chennai Super Kings.
This was Bravo’s second T20 franchise success in as many months after he led St Kitts/Nevis Patriots to their maiden CPLT20 crown in September.
“The mood in the camp is pretty good. We had a couple of really intense training sessions. From what I gather, everyone is switched on and really wanting to start this World Cup hitting the ground running. It’s exciting for WI cricket to see these guys raring to go to start this tournament,” he added.
Rampaul believes the squad has what it takes to defend the title as the team boasts a mixture of experience and youthful talent. The likes of Bravo, Gayle, Russell, Pollard and Lendl Simmons alongside surging talents such as Evin Lewis, Roston Chase, Nicholas Pooran, Fabien Allen and Shimron Hetmyer prove to be an asset.
“Going into big World Cup games you would need experience. The team that was selected has a lot of experienced and young guys as well. Players that competed around the world in different conditions and we know that games come quick and fast.
“The experienced guys will know how to manage themselves to play back to back game so hopefully games every other day, with recovery and getting stuff done, the experience will help us throughout this tournament,” he said.
Rampaul said he is willing to bowl with the new ball for the West Indies but is ready to take on any challenge at the tournament. He wants the team to believe in themselves and support each other throughout the tourney.
He added, “There’s a lot of guys who’s been playing a lot of T20 franchise cricket around the world and we could feed off each other with our experience and when different situations in the games come up we can come together and have a plan to go ahead.”