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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Rakheem Cornwall could make debut

West Indies announced their Test squad for the upcoming home series against India leaving out  big-hitting Chris Gayle despite the opener expressing his desire to play a Test against Virat Kohli's men, the hosts have included  Rakheem Cornwall in the 13-member squad.  Over the years, Rahkeem Cornwall had demolished bowling attacks in Carribean Premier League. Rahkeem shot to limelight when he shone with his all-round skills in a tour game for West Indies Cricket Board XI vs India in 2016.

Christopher Columbus named the island "Antigua" in 1493, honouring a vow – centuries later   Colonel Christopher Codrington,  an English plantation owner and colonial administrator  made a great fortune in the West Indies. Born about 1640 on Barbados, Codrington was the son of another Christopher Codrington and probably the grandson of Robert Codrington, a landed gentleman of good family with an estate at Dodington, Gloucestershire.  His father was a royalist who had arrived in Barbados around 1640, married a sister of James Drax, a leading plantation owner, and acquired an estate made some fortune.

A few months ago, a  bizarre declaration from Leeward Islands to lose a match in an apparent attempt to deny their opposition Barbados the chance to build enough bonus points to overtake them in the WICB Regional Four-Day Tournament, has backfired with Barbados securing second place. Whatever calculations took place from Leeward Islands, who were captained by Rahkeem Cornwall, did not work as the result was enough to put Barbados into second place by just 0.2 points.

The man being talked about, Rakheem Cornwall has been one of the most consistent wicket-takers in Professional Cricket league.  The Leeward Islands offspinner is fourth on the list of the leading wicket-takers since the 2014-15 season, having taken 197 wickets over the years. On three occasions, he has been among the top three bowlers in an edition, including in 2018-19, when he finished as the leading wicket-taker with 54 wickets in nine matches with an average of 17.68. This consistency is one of the reasons Cornwall believes he is well-suited to the Test format, especially with the possibility of a debut during the upcoming fixtures against India, the first of which starts on August 22 as part of the World Test Championship.

WI will play India at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua in Test no. 2358.  This ground has replaced the   popular and atmospheric Antigua Recreation Ground as Antigua's premier venue, when it was built in time for the 2007 World Cup.  There had been issues of lesser attendance, pitch being  relaid after the 2008 Australia Test, the 2009 Test against England  farcically abandoned after ten balls because of the sandy and dangerous state of the bowlers' run-ups. The ground is dominated by two large stands, the five-story southern one housing the pavilion as well as corporate suits, the northern one the media. The eastern and western side are made up of burms (terraces) which the architects intended to help the venue retain a more casual Caribbean flavour.

Antigua also known as Waladli by the native population, is an island in the West Indies. It is one of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region and the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations in  1981. Antigua means "ancient" in Spanish.  The economy is mainly reliant on tourism, with the agricultural sector serving the domestic market.  Over 32,000 people live in the capital city, St. John's. The capital is situated in the north-west and has a deep harbour which is able to accommodate large cruise ships.

Politically, the Antigua and Barbuda government is describing as “frightening” the new United States immigration plans to restrict legal immigration. The new rule, as being advocated by the White House adviser Stephen Miller, is being regarded as a critical piece of President Donald Trump's America First immigration agenda and is aimed at reshaping the immigrant community. The new regulation is aimed at hundreds of thousands of immigrants who enter the country legally every year and then apply to become permanent residents. Starting in October, the government's decision will be based on an aggressive wealth test to determine whether those immigrants have the means to support themselves.

Poor immigrants will be denied permanent legal status, also known as a green card, if they are deemed likely to use government benefit programs such as food stamps and subsidised housing. Wealthier immigrants, who are designated as less likely to require public assistance, will be able to obtain a green card. Officials said the program would not apply to people who already have green cards, to certain members of the military, to refugees and asylum-seekers, or to pregnant women and children.

There have been big burly Crickets, especially those who played for West Indies – Wes Hall, Clive Lloyd, Patrick Patterson would readily come to mind ~ Rahkeem Cornwall would challenge them all ! ~ Rahkeem Cornwall who could make debut at Antigua is at the centre of all speech of ‘big burly ones’ – he could well be the max weighed man in Cricket.

He'll certainly be close: the latest estimates put Rahkeem Cornwall's weight at around 140kgs, or 22 stone (he's also about 6' 6" tall, so among the tallest Test cricketers too). The problem is, it's not usual for players' weights to be faithfully recorded, so it's difficult to be precise.  Recently Steven Lynch in column wrote of perhaps  the only contender for Test cricket's heavyweight championship being  former Australian captain Warwick Armstrong, who was quite svelte when he first toured England, in 1902, but had expanded considerably by the time he led a very strong side immediately after the Great War, winning eight Tests in a row against England in 1920-21 and 1921. Describing the 1921 version of Armstrong, Ronald Mason wrote: "He was an enormous man, huge-shouldered and heavy-hipped; he stood well over six feet and by the year of this his last tour had a disproportionate middle-aged spread.

Since we can't really be sure, Steve wrote that he could  declare it a tie between Armstrong and Cornwall!  Rahkeem Cornwall is a 26-year-old all-rounder from Antigua and he is certainly an imposing figure. At 6'6"and weighing around 140 kilograms Cornwall is a big-hitting all-rounder who gets out the big hits at will and bowls impressive spin !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Aug 2019.

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