Since being named in Windies 13-member squad for the upcoming two-Test series against India, Rahkeem Cornwall has captured the imagination of every cricket pundit and fan, who wants to catch the glimpse of Antiguan all-rounder on the cricket field. After dishing out consistent performances with both bat and ball in the domestic circuit, Cornwall has literally earned his maiden call-up for Men in Maroon. He particularly caught the eye of the cricketing world during a tour game against India in 2017.
The 26-year-old, who weighs 140kg, is perhaps the heaviest cricketer ever to take the field. Cornwall has claimed 260 wickets in 55 first-class games at 23.90 apiece and scored 2224 runs at an average of 24.43. Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt has defended the regional selection committee’s decision to hand Cornwall a Test call and says that the uncapped allrounder will lose weight.
“Rahkeem has been under the supervision of CWI-appointed strength and conditioning trainer, nutritionist and coach. He is being managed with a concentrated plan wherein he will gradually lose weight and improve upon his fitness,” Skerritt was quoted as saying by Mid-Day. “He has been the most successful spinner in our first-class league and has earned his selection by taking many wickets at an economical rate.”
Despite his pedigree and talent, there were concerns around Cornwall’s weight and people believed that the big man might not be successful in international cricket owing to his massive physique. When the squad was announced last week, Robert Haynes, the interim head of West Indies’ selection panel, hailed the heavy-set player’s skills.
“Rahkeem has been performing consistently over a long period of time and has proven to be a match-winner, so we believe his elevation to the Test squad is merited at this time,” said Haynes. “We believe he can provide an attacking option to our bowling attack with his sharp turn and extra bounce. He can also lend a bit of depth to the batting, so we are looking forward to him coming into the squad and making a valuable contribution.”
The first Test between India and West Indies will be played on Cornwall’s home island of Antigua from August 22.