Record-breaker Rampaul aims for “consistency”

Visakhapatnam, India — Ravi Rampaul played the innings of a lifetime in the second ODI against India on Friday night and following his heroics, the 27-year-old is looking for more consistent performances.

Rampaul entered the record books with a superb unbeaten 86 off just 66 balls in an action-packed hour of power-hitting at the Dr Y.S. Rajashekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Stadium. He indicated he is looking to put together more "important performances" with his left-handed batting and right-arm fast bowling to improve his "allround game".


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It was the ultimate back-to-the-wall performance and was the greatest ever batting effort by a Number 10 in a One-Day International. Rampaul came in with the Windies on 140-8. They eventually reached 269-9 off 50 overs as Rampaul added 99 for the last wicket with Kemar Roach, who was equally composed and batted with purpose for a career-best 24 not out.

Before that Rampaul added 30 for the ninth wicket with opener Lendl Simmons, who made 78 off 102 balls. India were made to work but got home by five wickets, thanks to a well-made century by Virat Kohli. They lead the five-match series 2-0 with three matches left.

"What I’m aiming for is consistency in my career, with the bat and the ball. It’s all about trying to get better with every performance. It’s all about the hard work you put in during those training sessions, in the gym and in the off periods that help. As bowlers, we have been doing a lot of batting in the nets and we have been getting some results. I have done well this year and the real aim is to continue and get stronger as a player in the team," Rampaul said.

"The challenge for every cricketer, every sportsman is to put in good performance every time you go out. That is my aim in my career, to perform. My body is feeling good and strong and I have been bowling well this year and that gave me confidence. That rubbed off a bit on my batting and it is always good to make a contribution with the bat."

Rampaul added: "I didn’t surprise myself with the bat. I believe I am a capable batsman and have done well down the order before. I just played my natural game and it came off. It was one of those days when everything went well for me with the bat. I was able to connect the ball well and most of the shots that I played brought runs. I just wanted to play my shots and get as many runs as possible. Thankfully, it all came off well."

Rampaul came into the match with an average of 9.47 runs per innings and a top score of 26 not out against Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club in December 2007. He smashed six sixes and six boundaries — eclipsing 73 not out made by Mohammad Amir of Pakistan as the previous best score by a Number 10 in ODIs.

The partnership with Roach was the third highest for the last wicket in ODI history. The world record last wicket stand was between West Indian legends Sir Viv Richards and Michael Holding of 106 runs against England at Old Trafford in 1984.

On Friday night, Rampaul’s first six was an unconventional slap off the back foot over long-on. The last came off the final ball of the innings when he despatched a pitched up delivery from Varun Aaron into the stand at long-off. The most memorable however was an amazing upper cut over third man of the pacy Aaron which sailed over the rope at third man.

"When I came in to replace (Andre) Russell, Simmons was still in and he was batting really, really well for the team. I knew at that stage in the innings we were under some pressure so my job was to support him (Simmons) and try to build a partnership and look to bat to the 50th over," Rampaul outlined.

"After the run out (Simmons) I decided the gameplan was still to look to bat to the 50th over. I backed myself to play my shots and it paid off. I decided I would look to score off the bad ball and try to get as many as possible. Roach came into bat and he was confident as well. He settled in nicely and played some great shots."

It has been an excellent year for the lion-hearted Rampaul. With the ball, he has been brilliant in Test cricket, with 31 wickets in eight matches at an average of 25 runs per wicket to be the eighth highest wicket-taker in the world this year. He has made 13 ODI appearances and has 24 wickets at 19.9 each.

The five-match ODI Series now moves to Ahmedabad for third match which will be played at the Sardar Patel Stadium. First ball in the day/night match is 2.30 pm (5 am Eastern Caribbean Time/4 am Jamaica Time). The fourth match is on Thursday at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore and the fifth and final match on Sunday, December 11 at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

With the three matches left to complete what will be a three-month period away from home, Rampaul called for a final push to try and topple the Indians. "We are learning as a team. We keep getting closer and closer. We won’t give in. We hope to get across the line soon."