Tailender Rampaul lets his bat talk
By the time he finished the innings with a six over long-off, off youngster Varun Aaron, Rampaul had recorded the best score by a No. 10 batsman in an ODI. Amol Karhadkar reports.india Updated: Dec 03, 2011 02:13 IST
After preventing Sachin Tendulkar from achieving his 100th century in international cricket at the Wankhede Stadium less than a fortnight ago, Ravi Rampaul has become a household name in India, albeit as the "Wankhede villain".
But on Friday, the Trinidadian became the darling of Vizag in an unexpected manner. Even though he is not averse to hitting a few lusty blows lower down the order, Rampaul is known in the cricketing world for his ability with the new ball.
The fiery fast bowler, who has been unable to represent West Indies regularly due to injuries ever since he burst onto the international scene eight years ago, made sure he would also be remembered for his batting prowess with a blitzkrieg that ensured the West Indies had a more than decent total to defend in the second ODI.When he joined opener Lendl Simmons at the crease, the West Indies had almost 20 overs to bat out, but had only No. 11 bat Kemar Roach in the dressing room.
And just as Rampaul, a left-handed bat, started to slog between square-leg and mid-wicket - the tailender's favourite area - Roach was in the middle, thanks to Simmons's run out.
During the Test series, the India spinners had regularly enticed him into playing false strokes on the on-side, the boundary being packed with fielders. But that wasn't the case on Friday as every ball he hit either raced to the fence or sailed over the boundary.
Off-spinner R Ashwin, man-of-the-series in the Tests, suffered heavily, as four of Rampaul's half-a-dozen sixes came off his bowling.
As he grew in confidence, even the cuts and drives started land in the right areas. By the time he finished the innings with a six over long-off, off youngster Varun Aaron, Rampaul had recorded the best score by a No. 10 batsman in an ODI. A standing ovation from the packed stadium, and more importantly, his teammates, was a fitting way to end whirlwind knock.
If the West Indies are looking for that one moment of brilliance to spur them on, Rampaul's inspiring knock could well be the answer.