Rampaul hopes for turnaround
Kemar Roach is on the bench. Jerome Taylor is in Jamaica. Andre Russell can't get in to the squad. Darren Sammy is a work-horse and his critics say he upsets the balance of the attack. And yet, West Indies bowlers have bowled their heart out in this series and have put their team on top nearly every time. Tuesday was no different.
Later in the evening, the local radio crackled in anger. On two different stations, on two different cricket shows, the callers lashed out against the batsmen as, by stumps, West Indies had lost three wickets for 30 after bowling out India for 201. There doesn't seem to be much hope in the Caribbean about the West Indies batsmen. "Oh, the seniors don't pull their weight. Oh, why did they drop Kraigg Brathwaite after just one Test. Surely, Lendl Simmons is not an opener? Why did they drop vice-captain Brendan Nash. Will Ramnaresh Sarwan score? When will Darren Bravo mature?" And on and on they went. The fans almost seem like they're expecting a batting collapse tomorrow. But nearly all of them had words of praise for the bowlers, who were good throughout.
Ravi Rampaul led from the front in the morning session with his ability to move the ball. He cut a few in, got some to straighten, slipped in the short balls and threatened to run through the line-up. The batsmen have let the bowlers down for a while now but Rampaul was hopeful of a turnaround. "I am not angry at the batsmen, I am sure they don't go there to get out," he said. "I give them confidence and keep the self-belief up as any time one of them can go out there and get a hundred. I continue to believe in them and give my support. We'd like to get a lead. We will probably look for 300 and take it from there."
Rampaul admitted the three quick wickets in the end did dent West Indies but hoped the pitch will ease up. "After lunch today, the wicket played really good for batting. As days go along it will become better for batting. Losing three wickets in 45 minutes did set us back; it's up to the batsmen to come out tomorrow and start fresh. The sun will dry out the wicket and it will become better. Hopefully we shall stick in there and put up a better performance."
Rampaul is fast developing into a thinking bowler and the leader of the pace attack. Often, Fidel Edwards was seen conversing with Rampaul on the field. Rampaul explained their roles: "Fidel is faster and more aggressive. I just try to keep it tight and let him do the attacking. I occasionally use short balls. I try to set up the batsmen if I see them come on the front foot. We know that Indian batsmen don't like short balls; so maybe I bowl them a bit more often."
The only criticism about Rampaul when he was moving the ball around was that he didn't make the batsmen play enough. "I wasn't hitting the right areas," Rampaul said. "The ball was swinging a lot and I think probably I could have hit the right areas and made them play. I need to be more consistent."
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo