Representing West Indies might be a big incentive to excel, but with the West Indies Cricket Board perennially cash- strapped, the Indian Premier League plays a big part in helping players from the Caribbean chart their own destiny.
Paceman Ravi Rampaul does not deny that the IPL has been a gateway to a comfortable life, but adds that plying his trade in the cash-rich league has also made him a cannier bowler.
Speaking to Mail Today, Rampaul said that ever since he represented Royal Challengers Bangalore, he has learnt little tricks that help him catch the opposition batsmen napping.
“My first season in the IPL really lifted my career. The experience really widened my thinking, while making a significant difference financially.
I am sure it will help me a lot in the years to come. Players know that if they score runs and take wickets, they can get an IPL contract which is extra motivation for them,” he said.
Rampaul is known to get breakthroughs early in the innings. And while no bowler can guarantee an early wicket, Rampaul backs himself to deliver with the new ball.
“Yeah, that is something I find myself doing very often picking up early wickets. It is obviously good for the team if I can provide that early breakthrough,” the 28-year-old Trinidadian said.
But Rampaul is still struggling to make a significant impact in Tests. While he has done well in patches, the consistency has been lacking.
He says injuries have been one of the reasons for a stop- start Test career. But he wants to make amends soon.
“I have been injured a couple of times early on in my career, so they probably just want me to get fit first. I am hoping that I can stay fit, and then move up the rankings, especially in Test cricket as well as ODIs.
“I am heavy, I have been injured too. I couldn’t do much running for a period and I tend to put on weight too. So there’s more to burn,” he laughs.
Rampaul rues the fact that he won’t be able to bowl to Sachin Tendulkar in his 200th Test, but he already has the legend’s scalp on his mantlepiece.
“It’s great that the Test will be against the West Indies. Bowling to Tendulkar is like a dream. Sometimes when he hits you for four, you just have to stand and smile and appreciate the shot. His wicket is cherished, and I have it,” he boasts.
Trinidad and Tobago reached the semi-finals of the Champions League Twenty20 and Rampaul attributes it to the passion of the team.
“It’s always a pleasure to represent one’s country. We had a good bunch of guys, and everyone stuck together. We played good cricket because we played for each other. We were a close- knit group and gave it everything on the field,” he signed off.
West Indian cricketers, Indian names