SPORTS

Windies’ Rahkeem Cornwall Is Back Under Scrutiny

Yeah, this album is dedicated

To all the teachers that told me I’d never amount to nothin’

To all the people that lived above the buildings that I was hustlin’ in front of

Called the police on me when I was just tryin’ to make some money to feed my daughter (it’s all good)

Notorious B.I.G

In the rap world, Rahkeem Rashawn Shane Cornwall would easily be dubbed with the name Notorious B.I.G. – on the sheer basis of size a la Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known by his stage names, the Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or simply Biggie.

Cornwall, the 27-year-old Leeward Islands and Windies right-arm off-break bowler, has come under scrutiny recently not so much for his performance but his fitness as a cricketer.

In August 2019, Cricket West Indies named Cornwall as the Championship Player of the Year and his performances at the local level has earned him a call up to play for the Windies at the international level.

However, Cornwall, the 6’ 7’’ and 308-lb. player does not fit the profile of the modern-day cricket set-ups; consequently, he has come under great scrutiny from all and sundry.

His latest critic is former West Indies pace bowler Tony Gray who questioned Cornwall’s bowling technique and opined that the bowler could suffer injury issues.

“I ask the question that has never been answered.  Is Cornwall’s problem genetic, because if it’s genetic it’s going to be difficult to lose the weight?  If not, why hasn’t he lost the weight yet, since the under-19 level,” Gray said recently on the Mason and Guest cricket radio program.

“I share Lance Gibbs’s opinion…the thing about it is if you look at Cornwall’s mechanics, he is a big guy, he takes two steps and it puts a lot of pressure on his body,” he added.

“He had a knee operational earlier this year, not a serious one but he still had some pressure on that knee.  My thing with him is that early on in his career he should have been coached with better mechanics, giving him at least four or five steps.  Spinners who can rip the ball, they don’t only use their wrist or their fingers, but obviously, their body as well and you can’t use your body if you are taking only two steps.”

Gray’s critique comes against the backdrop of an earlier criticism by ace Windies legendary former West Indies off-spinner, Lance Gibbs.

Posed with question back then whether any off-break bowlers in the current Windies set-up caught his eye, Gibbs responded with an emphatic, “No!”

“They’re not spinning the ball,” he said.

Pressed to give his views on Cornwall, Gibbs was critical of the player’s technique. “How can you take two steps and bowl? Where is your rhythm, where is that rhythm?” he asked.

“As a spin bowler you have got to use the crease, you have the return crease and you have the stumps, you have to bowl between those two. I never then had to go around the wicket to bowl, a lot because by using the crease I could get close to the stumps on the offside and still bowl and make it go on straighter instead of going around the wicket.”

Controversial former West Indies fast bowler Franklyn Rose has also expressed serious concerns regarding Cornwall’s fitness.

“He has a lot of talent, but no disrespect, I have a problem with his fitness,” Rose told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Say for example they play him in the first Test, and he makes 100 runs. ‘Very well done, congratulations’ but when he goes out into the field to field, how many runs is he going to give away?” he added.

Cornwall has already played in three Test matches, where he has claimed 13 wickets with a best innings of 7 for 75 against Afghanistan. 

He is believed to be the heaviest man to ever play Test cricket.

That said, Cornwall’s best bowling figures of 7/75, 8/51, 4/21, and 3/10 in

Test, First-class, List A, and T20, respectively, speak to his contribution and the value he adds to a team.

Nigel Bell, Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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