Playing cricket in Bang-ladesh is nothing new for West Indies pacer Ravi Rampaul. His tryst with Dhaka began in the early 2000s when he first arrived here for an under-19 stint. He was also a member of the team that defeated Bangladesh last year.
While his performance in that series didn't throw up too many talking points -- he took one wicket in the first match and was replaced by Kemar Roach in the second -- the bowler's potential to change the scenario of the game has never been doubted.
Competing against the likes of Roach, Tino Best and Fidel Edwards kept Rampaul in and out of the Test side in the last few games, but his knack of adjusting to the slow conditions here in Mirpur gives him an edge over the other pacers. Roach's unavailability through injury places a greater onus on Rampaul to lead the attack.
"It's too early to tell how the wicket will play, but from my past experience, I can say that it might be slow and that it will help the spinners. It's basically a wicket where you will have to use your variations to pick wickets," said Rampaul during a press conference at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. The bowler also stated the importance of sticking to the basics and bowling the right line in such conditions. "It's too early to tell how the wicket will play, we have some good, quick fast bowlers who can bowl 90 miles an hour, and if we put the ball in the right areas we will do well," added the bowler.
Rampaul's bowling career has a page from Bangladesh pacer Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's life story. The West Indian was bogged down by injuries in the early stages of his career, which made many sporting pundits doubt the bowler's ability to compete in international cricket. He however announced his comeback in style in the home series against Pakistan last year, where he troubled the visitors with the new ball and picked up eleven wickets in the series. He was subsequently selected for the series after that and ever since has been a regular member of the team.
Only time can reveal the extent of the damage that Rampaul can inflict with his swing in this series. The bowler however, to no one's surprise, claimed that the short ball would also be decisive against Bangladesh. "As a bowling unit we tend to look at the batsmen and look at their weakness, if the short ball is one of their weaknesses then we will exploit that," said Rampaul.
He further stated that the West Indies pace attack was top-notch despite Roach's injury. "Fidel (Edwards) is a fairly experienced Test cricketer. We have a fairly all-round bowling unit and that will do the bowling job for us," he said.
"We came out on top last year, in both the one-day series and the Test series. We are looking to do the same thing this year. We just have to keep believing in ourselves," added Rampaul.