The opening day of the one-off Test between the West Indies and Afghanistan belonged to Jason Holder’s team.
Winning the toss and putting Afghanistan into bat wasn’t the only victory for the Holder-led side.
The true hero of the day and the biggest honours belonged to arguably one of the most understated and who knows, even underrated men in the West Indies line up.
Some prefer to talk and express beyond the scope of their cricketing skills. Others are quick to throw light on their individual achievements. But playing only his Second Test- Rahkeem Cornwall- prefers to let his cricketing versatility do the talking.
Of the little over 68 overs that his West Indies bowled to Afghanistan, Rahkeem Cornwall alone bowled 25.
Of all the ten wickets that fell well inside the opening day of what was a 5-dayer, the quiet but gutsy Rahkeem Cornwall accounted for 7, on his own.
Of the many reasons that Test Cricket is hailed at a time where the T20 juggernaut is the dominant narrative of the day, with 50-over cricket finding a second wind, is the lavishness of time it allows bowlers to make their mark, to leave an impression.
But the mighty impressive Rahkeem Cornwall seemed in a bit of a hurry, as he clinched his maiden fifer; a remarkable effort that spun out Afghanistan- a side that beat his West Indies only days ago in the T20 contests- in half a day’s time.
Now, West Indies, despite losing 2 wickets but having scored a decent 68, are on the driver’s seat.
They are only 119 adrift of Afghanistan’s first inning tally. Hope and Brathwaite are gone. But Campbell and Brooks are looking composed and well set.
The likes of Chase, Dowrich, Holder and Rahkeem Cornwall himself are to follow.
If for anything, the West Indies would want to reach the first stage of batting dominance in scoring 250. Anything plus against Afghanistan’s mean and clever line up led by Rashid should come as a bonus.
Who knows a 300 plus could also mean a psychological advantage for Afghanistan’s opponents, who’ll be keen to sign off the year with a win in a format that’s often exposed their weaknesses.
Who knows- Chase might chip in with a valuable fifty and snatch the limelight from where it deservingly rests; in Rahkeem Cornwall’s honest and sincere efforts.
Let there be no confusion that the importance of Cornwall in this Test against Afghanistan is akin to the utility of an all arm clock on a long, draining day.
Without a good and early start- you never know where you might end up.
Had Cornwall not cleaned up the Top and Lower order, one just cannot imagine where the Afghanistan total would’ve reached?
For a guy who’s often restricted to a one-sided and hugely monotonous description- the length of his built and the frame subjected to adjectives that dwell in enormity- Rahkeem Cornwall has broken biases.
Rahkeem Cornwall isn’t some Internet keyword that says a heavy-duty cricketer. Rahkeem Cornwall is breaking the biases that surround weight; piercing straight into the heart of an iron-willed cricketer.
He’s told us that cricket is not about the physical size. It’s about the size of the fight in the heart of its true contestant.
The one who perseveres. The one who tries.
The one who goes against the tide.
Rahkeem Cornwall has only just arrived. Rahkeem Cornwall is here to stay. Tomorrow and today.