CPL 2020: At a time when most of the young cricketers are lured by “easy money” in thriving T20 leagues, West Indian Rahkeem Cornwall, the heaviest ever to play the five-day format at more than 140kg, has got his priorities straight.
The 27-year-old spinner wants to “nail down” his Test career, which is only three games old, and if leagues like the IPL happen along the way, it would be a “bonus”.
Speaking to PTI from Trinidad, where he is making an impact with both bat and ball for St Lucia Zouks in the CPL, Cornwall expressed his devotion to Test cricket.
“If I can play the T20 format and travel the world and play leagues it would be good but my aim is to be one of the most successful Test players out there.
“Playing Test cricket is the art of cricket, everyone wants to play Test cricket and do well. I have already played the format, I just want to make sure I get what I am really looking for in Test cricket and when my times comes to retire, I don’t have any regrets,” said Cornwall.
West Indies cricket has enjoyed most success in the shortest format over the past 10 years with a chunk of its players going on make a name and some handsome amount of money in T20 leagues around the world.
Cornwall too is open to becoming a T20 globetrotter but not before he achieves his goals in Test cricket.
“If I get to play different leagues around the world, it would be a bonus for me but the main focus is to keep pushing my Test career,” said the offie who made his Test debut against India in Jamaica last year when he took three wickets including Cheteshwar Pujara’s.
He had also dismissed India skipper Virat Kohli in a tour game in 2016.
“Pujara is a quality player, a good player of spin. To get him was a joy, more so as it was my first Test wicket,” recalled Cornwall, who is yet to make his limited overs debut for West Indies but is confident of doing so with a successful outing the ongoing CPL.
At the moment, he likes to be known as the off-spinner who can drastically improve with the bat.
The constant chatter around his size doesn’t bother him but he would want to be fitter and leaner to the point where he is able to perform at his best in all formats.
“Size does not matter to me. I already know who I am and what my size is. I just try to be fit as possible so that can perform for my team,” said the 6’6” tall cricketer when asked if needs to be fitter for the shorter formats where one is required to be more agile on the field.
“You have to be fit for all formats. Playing Test cricket is hard as well. Yes in T20 cricket, you have to be moving up and down but it is still cricket and you have to be fit.
“I would not say I am fine the way I am. I am still a work in progress. I wouldn’t set a goal (on losing how much weight). My family is big boned. I just have to know the right size where I can go my job on the field and once I get to that stage, I am in a good place,” he said.
Cornwall’s last Test outing came in England last month and he has also played one against Afghanistan in Lucknow last year when he ended up with match-winning figures of 10/121.
The burly bowler doesn’t have a role model but thinks highly of Nathan Lyon and Ravichandran Ashwin. In fact, he even enjoyed a long chat with India’s premier spinner during his debut series last year.
“I like to talk to spinners of other teams and pick up bits that suit my game, not everything they would tell me would suit my game. I try not to overcomplicate.
“With Ashwin, basically we had a normal spinner talk, how the ball is coming out from the hand, keep your shape, make sure you maintain balance at the crease and take it from there. Just probably learning from one another.” PTI