Since the start of the Professional Cricket League Regional 4 Day Tournament, West Indies’ first-class competition that was revamped in 2014, Rahkeem Cornwall has been one of the tournament’s most consistent wicket-takers. The Leeward Islands offspinner is fourth on the list of the leading wicket-takers since the 2014-15 season, having taken 197 wickets over the years. On three occasions, he has been among the top three bowlers in an edition, including in 2018-19, when he finished as the leading wicket-taker with 54 wickets in nine matches with an average of 17.68.
This consistency is one of the reasons Cornwall believes he is well-suited to the Test format, especially with the possibility of a debut during the upcoming fixtures against India, the first of which starts on August 22 as part of the World Test Championship.
“I believe the Test format suits my game because of the consistency a player needs over a long period of time to be successful, and I’ve enjoyed that challenge so far in my career playing first-class cricket,” Cornwall told the Cricket West Indies website. “The feeling [on getting called up] is great – it’s something I’ve been pushing to achieve for a long time.”
His tally of 54 wickets in the first-class tournament followed a haul of 23 wickets in List A and first-class games against England Lions earlier in 2018, and in the recent series against the touring India A, Cornwall took nine wickets in six matches. Playing against two quality oppositions was good preparation for Cornwall, who said that his on-field results were signs of the progress he had made.
“The A-team preparation has been very good,” he said. “England Lions and India A were two quality opposition teams featuring guys that played Test cricket. Overall it has been very challenging and it was a good place to test skills that I’ve been trying to perfect every year in our domestic competition.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of work over the last couple of months. I’ve always pushed myself. I feel I can go on and I think the on field results I’ve achieved have shown the progress I’m making.”
Cornwall’s cricketing hero is former South Africa allrounder Jacques Kallis and one of his earliest inspirations to play for West Indies came from watching Brian Lara’s 400 not out against England in Antigua in 2004.
“My cricket hero is definitely Jacques Kallis,” he said. “The way he carried himself as an allrounder on and off the field, I’ve tried to visualise and work to match certain things I saw Kallis to do my game.
“The Test match I remember most watching was Brian Lara’s 400 in Antigua 2004. It was early inspiration for sure to become a professional cricketer and to play for the West Indies.”