Losing pounds could see Cornwall unlock scary Windies potential

By Kwesi Mugisa July 23, 2020
Rahkeemn Cornwall Rahkeemn Cornwall

Talented all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall should shed the excess pounds if he wishes to realize his full potential as a member of a successful West Indies unit.

Now, hold on to your collective horses. Before I get accused of being unfair or picking on the player, or any of the other excuses those willing to bury their heads in the proverbial sand may concoct, as is truly typical of the modern victimhood culture, I must make clear that I have tremendous belief in Cornwall’s potential and ability. 

Regionally, he has routinely performed at a very high level.  He has proven his ability to take wickets for the A-team and had a splendid Test debut for the West Indies against India.  In the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Cornwall has flayed many opposition bowling attacks.  There should be no doubt that if he continues to work at his game, he can become a quality all-rounder and a dependable weapon for West Indies.  For the sport of cricket, his considerable weight, which in all likelihood kept him from being selected sooner, is an obstacle he must overcome.

The aim of the majority of professional athletes is often to maximize their physical capability.  Surely Cornwall is functional, but anyone who can honestly claim they believe the athlete is performing at his peak needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and consider whether they really mean him any good.  He is good now, but at his best, he could be great. We should therefore never hinder personal improvement by stifling objective analysis. 

While the team’s coach Phil Simmons recently claimed the player’s, weight was not an issue, one does not have to go far to think of instances where it could be.  What about instances in the game where quick singles are required?  His inability to do so is clearly a tactic that can and has been used against the player to the detriment of both himself and the team.  Anyone who has watched the CPL will have seen teams decide that it is the best way to attack the destructive batsman. 

In a memorable 2017 CPL encounter between the St Lucia Stars and Barbados Trident, current One Day International (ODI) captain Kieron Pollard was incensed at the player’s decision to quit after making a blistering 78 from 44.  Cornwall seemed gassed after being earlier hit by a Pollard delivery, but his opponent clearly believed that being in poor physical shape played a factor in his not being able to go on and make a 100.

Why would anyone be encouraged to work on weaknesses in their game and not have prime physical fitness on the list? 

It would be an interesting explanation as to why so little progress has been made after Cricket West Indies promised to put the all-rounder on a special programme, which included a dietician, over three years ago. 

Additionally, with the team’s renewed focus on fitness, which saw them implement the famed Yoyo Fitness Endurance programme that has a minimum score of 40, it would be interesting to discover why Cornwall has been given a pass when other players have been dropped for not making the fitness grade. If the player cannot lose weight due to a medical exemption, one wonders how it cannot be a risk to play competitive cricket.

At 27 years old the player should be at or close to his physical peak, it is surely an indictment to not encourage him to put in the work required to get to the very top of his game.

 

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