Cooper aims to fill Rampaul’s boots

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad – Trinidad & Tobago will be without Ravi Rampaul, their new ball ace, for the Caribbean T20 2013.

They will be counting on Kevon Cooper to step up in the bid to defend their title, starting Sunday night.

When Rampaul was ruled out with an injury on Thursday, attention immediately turned to Cooper, the lanky seamer, and Shannon Gabriel, the strongly-built pacer.

Cooper has used the new ball with telling effect and also bowled well at the ‘death’ for Trinidad and Tobago in regional cricket and for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.

“I’d just like to play my part as a player when the captain calls on me – going out there and picking up wickets – and hopefully we can win the third time around and bring the trophy back home,” Cooper said.

“There’s no major pressure – I know what is required; in the team everyone knows what’s required. Once we win those four home games, we will have a good chance of winning again and bringing home the trophy. That’s the way we’re all thinking.”

Cooper has seen first-hand many of the highs and lows of cricket. At age 19 he made his senior Trinidad and Tobago debut in 2008, but until 2011 failed to cement a place in the squad.

In the 2011 Caribbean T20 team Cooper and spinner Sunil Narine helped T&T secure the regional title and their second berth in the Champions League T20 tournament, but question marks over the players’ bowling actions forced them to head to Australia for successful remedial work.

“After playing and doing so well for Trinidad, Sunil and myself, and then to get called for ‘pelting’ was disappointing for me. I was feeling a bit down and having to go all the way to Australia to correct my action, it wasn't easy for me as a player. But thank God for giving me the ability to cope and to come back and do well,” said the 23-year-old, who is also a capable lower-order batsman.

He bounced back last year and was a crucial member of the championship-winning side. He played six matches and took six wickets. This included a match-winning 3-26 off four overs against Guyana at Sri Vivian Richards Stadium, which earned him the Player-of-the-Match award. Overall in his career he has so far taken 43 wickets in 41 T20 matches.

T rinidad & Tobago will open the tournament against last year’s losing finalists Jamaica at Queen’s Park Oval on Sunday at 8 pm (7 pm Jamaica Time.)

Sat, 01/05/2013 - 03:41