Fringe Players Give West Indies Hope

Rampaul's career best figures will give the West Indies confidence for the rest of the series
Rampaul's career best figures will give the West Indies confidence for the rest of the series
©Action Images / Jason Cairnduff Livepic

The West Indies beat India by eight wickets in Jamaica last night to level the four match series at one match apiece and while the first game was dominated by the bat with India scoring 339 and the West Indies falling just short in their run chase scoring 319, yesterday's game, for the first half at least, was dominated by the ball.

Ravi Rampaul starred with the ball for the West Indies, picking up figures of four for 37. Among his victims were Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma, two of India's most promising young top order batsmen.

Rampaul shot to prominence in 2000, when he was part of the West Indies team team that triumphed in the Under-15 World Cup in England.

Rampaul duly made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe in the back end of 2003, and he went on to tour England in the summer of 2004. However a succession of injuries coupled with a run of poor form saw the Trinidadian bowler struggle to establish himself as a permanent fixture in the West Indies line up.

Rampaul did turn in some good performances for the West Indies on their tour of England in 2007, but once again injury saw him on the sidelines, however some consistent performances for Trinidad and Tobago in the domestic competitions saw Rampaul earn an international recall, and he repaid the selectors faith with a career best bowling performance as India were bowled out for just 188.

Chasing such a meagre total was never likely to present the West Indies with too many problems, and the man who starred for the West Indies was Runako Morton.

Like Rampaul, Morton has found himself in and out of the West Indies side over the last few years, however in his case it has been due to a lack of consistency with the bat as well as disciplinary problems earlier in his career.

However yesterday Morton batted with the freedom and confidence of an experienced veteran as he made an unbeaten 85 from 102 balls, and for good measure he finished the match off with a six over long on off the bowling of Harbhajan Singh.

The West Indies have shown signs in the last few months that in limited over cricket at least they can be a match for anyone, but there is a theory of an over reliance on the big four, Chris Gayle, Shiv Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dwayne Bravo, so for two fringe players to come in and produce a performance of such class and composure will give the West Indies reason to believe there is light at the end of the tunnel after all.

Aaron Kumar
© Cricket World 2009