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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Ravindranath Rampaul
  • Born 15 October 1984 Preysal, Trinidad
  • Occupation Cricketer
  • Debut 4 May 2008 v Leicestershire at Grace Road, Leicester
  • Cap Number 655
  • Style Left hand batsman, right arm fast medium
  • Teams Trinidad and Tobago, South Trinidad, West Indies U19, West Indies

Ravi Rampaul is a strongly built fast medium bowler, capable of bowling long and hostile spells from a menacing approach to the wicket. His early years in West Indian cricket were marred by injury and some thought that he would never fulfil his potential. However, after being brought into the side at the end of the 2011 World Cup, a selection he celebrated by dismissing Tendulkar, he seemed, after making an impact in Test Matches and ODIs later that year, to have established himself in the Test and one day sides.

His first class debut came in the 2001/02 season, but his first notable performance came the following season when he took 5-53 for Trinidad against a strong West Indies B XI, leading to a 6 wickets victory. As this was a match of two double and one single centuries, Ravi - who took a further three wickets in the second innings - played a leading part in Trinidad's success. This and other performances saw him selected for the tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa in 2003/04. However injury allowed him only four first class matches. This was unfortunate as he took 5-55 against Free State and 4-67 against Easterns.

He had recovered from these problems by the 2006/07 season in which he achieved his career best bowling figures. This was in the final of the Carib Beer International Challenge Final v Barbados. Barbados were set a fourth innings target of 276 which seemed well within their compass. However Ravi had other ideas. His figures of 18.4-4-51-7 resulted in their being dismissed for 226.

Ravi was selected for the tour of England in 2007, generally remembered as one that the players - least of all the captain Chris Gayle - did not want to be on. The weather was miserable, the tourists even more so. Ravi returned injured after one match - against a weak MCC side at Durham - having bowled just three overs. His team-mates probably thought he had scooped the jackpot! He did, however, take part in the ODI series in July without making much of an impact. In fact he had not really shone consistently in this class of cricket, though he had had bowled West Indies to victory in the semi final of the U 19 World Cup against England in Bangladesh in 2003/04. His 3 wickets for 27 in 7.1 overs were those of Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara and Somerset batsman James Hildreth, a fairly impressive haul.

Fellow Trinidadian Phil Simmons signed Ravi as Ireland's overseas player for the Friends' Provident Trophy matches in 2008. If he was not an overwhelming success in terms of numbers of wickets taken, he, as Ian Callender noted, "showed more commitment than the last four overseas professionals put together." He might well have had three or four wickets in his first match against Leicestershire rather than a solitary one towards the end of the county's innings. He deserved more wickets than he took in the other matches, as, again quoting Ian Callender be bowled, "with total commitment pace and class."

His best bowling came in the pulsating one run loss to Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge when he took 3-40 to leave the County on 241-6 at the end of their 50 overs. He took the top three in the order reducing the hosts at one stage to 22-3. They recovered thanks to Australian Test man Alec Voges but left Ireland a gettable target. An epic 93* from Kevin O'Brien saw Ireland finish agonisingly short. Throughout the season Ravi could be generally relied on to make an early break through and was indeed "Ireland's best overseas professional this decade." (Callender)

Selected for the West Indies tour of Australia in 2009/10 he was not alone in struggling to make an impact, finishing the series with figures of 77-14-290-4 from the three Tests. He may have derived some consolation from the fact that those four were Ponting, Haddin, Mike Hussey and Katich, but neither Ravi nor any of his team-mates made much of an impact on the powerful Australian batting line up. When South Africa visited the Caribbean the following June he had 0-149 in the two Tests he played in. His career at this level seemed over.

However as mentioned above he returned to the team in 2011. Playing two series against India and one each against Bangladesh and Pakistan, his figures for the year were 31 wickets at 25.03. This included career best Test figures achieved against Pakistan in Guyana in early May. First innings figures of 3-27 helped send the visitors back for 160 giving the Windies a 76 run lead. Then, after the hosts had been bowled out for 152 in their second innings, Ravi joined with his captain Darren Sammy to dismiss Pakistan for 178 and score a notable victory. With figures of 17-5-48-4, Ravi was singled out for praise by veteran journalist and commentator Tony Cozier in The Cricketer, Tony writing, "The most pleasing individual advance for West indies was Ravi Rampaul's ability to take wickets with the new ball."

His impressive form was also evident in ODIs, beginning with the World Cup match against India already referred to. Played at Chepauk it saw him take 5-51 with Gambir as well as Tendulkar in his haul. He was not, though, able to avoid defeat by 80 runs. Later in the year when the West Indies toured India he was to avenge that defeat by taking 4-32 and bowling his side to a 16 run victory. In the interim he had had a fine spell of 4-32 against Pakistan during their Caribbean tour, alas once more in a losing cause.

This coming season - 2012 - sees the West Indies once more touring England. As they seem to have climbed out of the abyss into which they has sunk a competitive series of Tests and ODIs may well materialise. If it does Ravi will probably be to the forefront. All Irish cricket enthusiasts will surely wish their former paceman well. In the present circumstances it seems highly likely that Ravindranath Rampaul will prove to have been Ireland's last overseas player. He will most certainly never be seen as having been the least.