FLORENCE HALL, Jamaica – Patience and persistence, they say, are the providers of progress which Rahkeem Cornwall continues to learn every time he takes the field.
The 24-year-old from Antigua was the most successful Windies “A” bowler in the second “Test” against Sri Lanka “A” which ended in three days last Saturday at the Trelawny Multiplex.
Cornwall collected 2-85 and 5-107, moving his aggregate for the series to 13, but the home team lost the second “Test” by a whopping 280 runs to leave the three-match series level 1-1 and set up a final showdown under lights, starting on Thursday at Sabina Park.
“Our performance was not up to standard,” he told CWI Media. “We did not bat well enough to keep the Sri Lankans out of the game and win the series in the second match.
“The pitch was spin-bowling friendly. I got seven wickets and (Malinda Pushpakumara) got 12, so the result hinged on whichever team batted the spin well – Sri Lanka did it and we did not, so they won.”
He added: “We have the final ‘Test’ coming up and this will be played under the lights, which will be a challenge in itself, so it is important that we prepare well and get everything ready and right for that game because once we play to our potential there is no doubt that we can win the series.
“But we have to go to practice over the next couple of days, work hard and do what we got to do to continue to perform strongly, and win the series. When we get into the game, we need to exhibit patience in batting and bowling, and the outcome we had in the first game can be repeated.”
Cornwall has made a name for himself, as a mean off-spinner, generating bounce from his 6-foot, 4-inch frame and sharp turn from a whippy action.
He has taken 154 first-class wickets at an average of 24.96 apiece in 32 matches, including 12 hauls of five wickets or more in an innings and one haul of 10 wickets or more in a match.
Cornwall said the biggest lesson he has learnt from the two matches against Sri Lanka “A” is the value of patience.
“My bowling is getting back there,” he said. “I have been out of the game for a little bit. I went to the United States to work on my fitness and so I am working on getting my bowling back to where it was previously.
“My success in the two matches so far has all been about being patience and putting the ball in the right areas, and also in my batting, using the patient approach, playing as straight as possible, playing in the ‘V’ and when they come into your areas, look to score.”
Cornwall said he has taken a lot of confidence from his early performances in the series and hopes to continue to reap the sweet rewards of his patience.
“I have been trying very hard to stick to the basics and trying to continuously do the things that work for me. I get the ball to bounce, so I try to bring the batsman forward as much as possible,” he said.
“Being patient enough to consistently put the ball in the right areas is also important because it leaves the batsman to either make the mistake or a good ball to take a wicket.
“I have to repeat the good things over and over, and see where it leads me and how it can help put the team in a match-winning position.”
Meantime, the Selection Panel of Cricket West Indies has confirmed an unchanged 13-member squad for the final “Test”.
Shamarh Brooks (Captain)
Vishaul Singh (Vice-Captain)
Team Management Unit
Graeme West (Head Coach)
Dwain Gill (Team Operations Manager)
Corey Collymore (Assistant Coach)
Khevyn Williams (Physiotherapist)
Zephrynus Nicholas (Fitness Coordinator)
Dinesh Mahabir (Video Data Analyst)