Trinidad and Tobago fast-bowler Ravi Rampaul is fully fit and ready to fight to reclaim his place in the West Indies squad come 2015.
The right-arm pacer last represented the regional side during the ill-fated 2014 tour of India in October following which he took two months off to be with his wife Shivana Ragoonanan-Rampaul when she gave birth to his son, Raul, in Miami, Florida, USA.
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) subsequently named a 30-man provisional squad for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and Rampaul was left out of the mix.
Speaking to the Express during a T&T training session at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva, on Tuesday, Rampaul admitted that he did not do much training during his time off but insisted that he is fit and will be ready for the Super50 tournament which bowls off on January 15.
He was third on the list of top wicket-takers in the 2014 Super50 grabbing eight wickets in five matches. Only Rayad Emrit and Sulieman Benn had more wickets in the tournament with ten and nine respectively. However out of the three players, only left-arm spinner Benn was included in the World Cup 30.
The 30-year-old Rampaul, who has taken 115 wickets in 90 ODIs and 49 wickets in 18 Tests, said: “It feels good to be back. I took two months off because my wife was pregnant with my first child…It is good to be back training with the boys in Trinidad.
“For the two months I was away, I was not doing much but I am fit. I am just a bit short on match practice—hopefully as the New Year hits, we will have a lot more practice games and I will be ready for the Super50,” Rampaul added.
And while he was disappointed he wasn’t in the West Indies World Cup 30, the pacer is not discouraged. In fact he says he has extra motivation to try and win back his place in the regional side. That extra drive he said comes from his love for the game and his newborn son.
“It feels good to become a father. We have a nice little boy so hopefully I can leave a legacy for him to follow,” said Rampaul.
“In terms of cricket, things have not been going my way for the past couple of months so I am going to set some new goals for 2015, see if I can get back on the West Indies team, and just take it day by day,” the quickie explained.
“In life nothing is certain, you have to take everything as it comes to you and a sense of your true character is how you come back when things are not going your way. I have put those things behind me and I am looking forward to the future.
“The love for the game drives me to work hard and always try to come back. Sometimes when I am injured and I am seeing guys playing and I am unable, that hurts a lot and that drives me to always try to get back on the field and now being a father that gives me extra motivation to try and make a comeback and provide for my family and leave something for my son so he can be proud of what I did,” Rampaul added.
The T&T pacer was also one of five Caribbean players who were released from their respective Indian Premier League contracts ahead of the 2015 IPL Auction.
Rampaul played for Royal Challengers Bangalore. The other players released were left-arm seamer Krishmar Santokie who represented Mumbai Indians, Darren Sammy who played for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Jason Holder from Chennai Super Kings and Kevon Cooper of Rajasthan Royals.
However, Rampaul is still optimistic about the year ahead saying: “Nothing is certain in the future. I will go back in the (IPL) auction and see what will happen but there is a lot of cricket all around the world and coming into this Super50 tournament, once I prove my fitness and get a lot of wickets I am sure opportunities will open up for me.”