Rahkeem Cornwall, the 196-centimeter giant of the West Indian side took the social media by storm when he played his first Test on England shores last week. Although Cornwall made his Test debut against India in August last year, the Caribbean player has seen a massive surge in popularity in the last one week and has become a fan-favourite.
This sudden rise in popularity has seen murmurs of Rahkeem Cornwall landing a Big Bash League (BBL) contract growing.
A report published by an Australian Daily has gauged opinions of several former Australian cricketers on Cornwall and if he is the right fit for a fast-paced tournament like BBL.
Shane Watson, who has played alongside Cornwall in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), swore by Cornwall's talents as a power hitter and a genuine off-spinner, claiming that he could fit in easily.
“What I saw when I played with him three years ago was, he has absolutely got great skills. At the end of the day, cricket is a skill-based game. So if you’ve got great skills and you can execute them under pressure, it doesn’t matter what shape or size you are. It doesn’t matter," said Shane Watson.
Cricket Australia is pushing for an inaugural international player draft this summer and this has given Rahkeem Cornwall the opportunity to potentially throw his hat in the ring.
Rahkeem Cornwall has captured the imagination of the cricket world: Fox Cricket boss
BBL primary broadcasters Fox Sports iterated that they would love to see Rahkeem Cornwall drafted to the BBL, to inject some much needed personality into the competition.
"Rahkeem has captured the imagination of the cricket world over the last week or so. The game is about entertainment and characters and we’d love to have him out here,” said Fox Cricket boss Matt Weiss.
Former Australian national-team coach Darren Lehmann stated that Rahkeem Cornwall could bring excitement for the fans and can potentially be the X-factor.
“Any of those players that bring an X-factor with them to any tournament and some excitement for the fans, that’s what you’re after in the BBL,” said the current Brisbane Heat coach.
Although Rahkeem Cornwall didn't get any breakthrough in the Manchester Test, the Antiguan off-spinner already has the prized scalp of Indian skipper Virat Kohli in his short career.
Former Australian coach Tim Nielsen had once coached Rahkeem Cornwall in the CPL and he also had rave reviews for the 27-year old youngster.
“He can whack it as well. And he’s a good catcher as he showed in the Test with his catch in the slips. He’s one of those guys who seems to have tremendous hand eye co-ordination." said Tim Nielsen.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, the BBL will be a 61-match affair and the detractors of the competition have often argued that it is too lengthy for the fans' liking. With a player like Rahkeem Cornwall coming into the fold of BBL, the fans wouldn't mind the long tournament.
Cornwall's popularity can be gauged from the fact that there is one change.org petition doing the rounds on social media platforms to get 'Rahkeem Cornwall a BBL Contract'.