West Indies off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall is barely a year into his international career but has come to be known more for his weight than his performances on the field. His off-spin is not to bad either, as he showed against Afghanistan in just his second Test when he picked up a 10-wicket match haul.
Rahkeem Cornwall is part of the 14-man West Indies which will take on England in a three-match Test series beginning next month – the first cricket series after post the Coronavirus pandemic.
Although only two Test matches old, Rahkeem Cornwall has had the opportunity to bowl to some of the finest batsmen in the world since he made his Test debut against India in Kingston last year.
Even before the first Test, Indian skipper Virat Kohli requested the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) if Rahkeem Cornwall could come and bowl to the Indian batsmen in the nets before the Test series.
“I see it as a breakthrough moment for me where one of the best batsman in the world (Virat Kohli) is asking for me to come to bowl to him in the nets,” Rahkeem Cornwall told ESPNCricinfo in an interview.
The year 2019 was a memorable one for Rahkeem Cornwall as he built on the experience gained from his debut Test against India with his success against Afghanistan in the Lucknow Test.
“It was a proud moment for me, getting my first five-wicket haul in Test cricket. I just knew that going to India, probably the surfaces there would suit my type of bowling, and so I just went there and put the ball in the right areas and tried to be as consistent as I can,” Rahkeem Cornwall said.
“It was a special year for me. For a few years I was very close to making the team, it was just a matter of when. Didn't imagine I would pick up a ten-wicket haul in my second Test match, but I knew I was capable enough to do those kind of things. So it is not a really big surprise to me,” the 27-year-old added.
Rahkeem Cornwall has some big scalps to his name
Rahkeem Cornwall is a tried-and-tested performer in first-class. He already has 303 first-class wickets in 62 games at an average of 23.57.
In fact, Rahkeem Cornwall’s first Test scalp was Cheteshwar Pujara.
“He is a player that plays spin well. He looks to use his feet to the spinners. So basically I was trying to keep him in the crease, and I got a little bit of bounce and he cut it to backward point. Probably catch him a little bit off guard in terms of the bounce, yeah,” Rahkeem Cornwall recalled about the dismissal of Pujara.
Adding about his dismissal of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in the practice game before the Test match, Rahkeem Cornwall said, “That was in a President's XI game in St Kitts. I got a five-wicket haul in that game as well. I got Kohli lbw and Rahane caught bat-pad. They were basic off-spin deliveries with just a little bit of bounce. I also got Pujara bowled in that match - he was attempting a sweep shot.”