Rampaul looks forward to first home Test
In the absence of the injured Jerome Taylor, and with Kemar Roach struggling to shake off an ankle problem, Ravi Rampaul has become the likely spearhead for West Indies' pace attack in the first Test against South Africa. Rampaul made his international debut seven years ago but has played in only three Tests so far, and was looking forward to his first Test in the West Indies, more so since it was at his home ground, Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad.
"Playing a Test match in front the home crowd and knowing that my family will be right here...it is a very special feeling for me," he said, "I hope the crowd comes out to give me support and push me in the Test match."
West Indies are winless in the series so far, having lost both Twenty20s and being blanked 5-0 in the one-dayers by Graeme Smith's side. Rampaul, however, sought inspiration from West Indies' recent home Test record - including a series victory over England last year and a hard-fought series against Australia in 2008. "Our home record in Tests is good so far and the team is really pumped up for this Test series."
The coach Ottis Gibson also struck a similarly positive note. "We want to come out and show that we are progressing, we are learning and some of the senior guys that did not perform in the one-day series will want to come out and make amends," Gibson said, referring to the lacklustre performance of the side's most experienced batsmen, Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
The Test team wears a different look to the one that competed in the limited-overs leg with the likes of Brendan Nash, Shane Shillingford and Nelon Pascal joining the squad. "We have a few new faces in the squad and we will obviously try to move on from the one-day series as quickly as possible," Gibson said. "And even though we lost that series the mood has always been that we are building towards something and the mood in the camp is pretty good so far."