Ravi Rampaul, the promising West Indian seamer, returned to competitive cricket last weekend in the Carib Beer League limited-overs competition after being out for almost six months due to shin splints. Rampaul, who was forced out of last year's summer tour to England, resumed training only in December and is slowly getting back to full fitness.
Anthony Gray, the coach of Rampaul's club CLICO Preysal, told CMC Sports that Rampaul is primarily being played as a batsman in the one-day series, following the advice of Dr Terry Ali, the West Indian board's physiotherapist. "We are using him in short spells. He bowled okay, but we are a bit concerned as his landing foot is twisting. We are awaiting an innersole from England for his bowling boots, before any more corrective measures are taken."
Rangy Nanan, the cricket manager at Preysal Sports Club, indicated that the support staff was careful not to rush his recovery process. "Ravi is working hard to come back at 100% full fitness. He is eager for action, he wants to be back on the T&T and West Indies teams. But his training programme is fully set out and monitored by Dr Terry Ali." Nanan also stated that while his progress was encouraging, a more clear picture would only emerge in about four weeks.
Rampaul played the last of his 17 one-dayers against England in the Natwest series in 2004, and has captured 11 wickets at an average of 49. He was forced to miss out on Trinidad and Tobago's triumph in last year's President Cup in Guyana and Barbados, and has already missed out on the first five matches in the 2005 Carib Beer Regional Series.
West Indies have a packed season ahead of them, with two home series, against South Africa and Pakistan. The South African series, consisting of four Tests and five one-dayers, begins in March, while Pakistan will tour immediately after, for two Tests and three ODIs.