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Ravi Rampaul has played three seasons of Champions League Twenty20for Trinidad & Tobago. For two of them he has come to India. And every time, like most of his team mates, he’s dreamt of coming back here as part of an Indian Premier League team.
Three years after playing the first CLT20, Rampaul’s dream has come true. On a sultry April evening in Chennai, the strapping West Indian fast bowler made his IPL debut, in the Royal Challengers Bangalore red colours. He bowled four overs and dismissed Murali Vijay, MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo, all for 31 runs.
His team lost the heart-stopping humdinger to a last ball no-ball from RP Singh and that soured Rampaul’s joy a bit. But all in all, chuffed to be involved in the IPL, Rampaul spoke with joy to iplt20.com about his experience.
He took pride in the fact that West Indians –Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, etc. – have breathed life into IPL 2013 and was particularly pleased by the news that in the 2013 CLT20, his domestic team, T&T, will get a direct entry to the main draw.
An IPL debut – a long time wish just came true?
Definitely! Ever since I got bought by RCB I’ve been working hard for the IPL and finally to get the opportunity was good. It came in a losing cause but I had a good experience. Hopefully, the more games I play, I’ll get better and help the team win a few games.
Did the CLT20 experience give you a good idea of what to expect in IPL?
I have played three CLT20s and so I had an idea of how it is like to play at this stage. I have been bowling to these batsmen for a while now and so I felt quite comfortable. You’ve got to keep your nerve and just focus on executing your plan in tough situations.
The West Indians have ruled IPL 2013 so far. Would you say it’s the boost in confidence after the World Twenty20 win?
The World Twenty20 has been a real morale booster. Also, back home the Caribbean T20 league is very competitive. Caribbean people like flamboyance, we like to play big shots and love excitement. We just love to entertain and T20 is our perfect platform.
Do you think West Indies has the best contingent of T20 cricketers currently?
I think so. We have a few excellent T20 players right now and our victory in the World Twenty20 just shows that. As we play more T20 cricket domestically, we’ll only get better and we will see more Caribbean players in the IPL.
How has it been being part of the 11-member strong pace bowling group at the RCB?
It’s a very good feeling to have so many of your kind around. They’ve been very welcoming and there’s a lot of competition among all of us as well, which is a good thing. You want players to be fighting for a spot in the XI. It always keeps a player desperate to perform and he knows if he won’t, there are many others to take his place.
You will come back to India later in the year for the CLT20. What is the feeling, knowing that this year T&T have got a direct entry to the Group Stage?
That is a very good feeling. We have been performing really well in the CLT20 on a consistent basis. We made it to the final in the first season and we had to go through the qualifying stage again the next year. We felt that it was a little unfair but we’re happy now to know that we go directly to main draw. It was very good news for the young fellows in Trinidad.
174.19: Ravindra Jadeja’s strike-rate in IPL2013 - highest for any batsman scoring 50 or more runs.
13: Number of wicket-keeping dismissals made by MS Dhoni off R Ashwin’s bowling - most for an Indian bowler-keeper pair. They went ahead of Dinesh Karthik - Amit Mishra pair’s record of 12 dismissals while playing for Delhi Daredevils.
12: Number of no-balls bowled by RP Singh in IPL. He is way behind the record though, which is held by Sreesanth with 20 no-balls.
7: Number of consecutive innings in which Virat Kohli has scored at least 25 against Chennai Super Kings. His scores: 34 (2010), 35, 31, 70* and 35 (2011), 57 (2012) and 58 (2013). Kohli’s streak of seven consecutive scores of 25 is the longest for any batsman against Chennai Super Kings. Abhishek Nayar is second with four such scores in consecutive innings.
4: Number of dismissals made by MS Dhoni in the match – most by any keeper in a match in IPL2013.