Rahkeem Cornwall, West Indian off-spinner, who made his Test debut against India at the Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica on Friday, is trending on the internet. He is the 319th Test player for the West Indies and is just like any other ordinary spinner. The reason why #RahkeemCornwall is trending is because of his girth and height. Cornwall, who weighs about 140 kg, is the heaviest player to play red-ball cricket.
But, given that social media specializes in insults, what made Rahkeem Cornwall trend was not for doing something outstanding, instead people were interested in body shaming him. Cornwall bowled a good line- length and picked up Cheteshwar Pujara’s wicket, who is already out of form and scored only 2 and 25 runs in the first Test. Though Cornwall’s persistence with the line saw him nab Pujara, people were more interested in trolling him for his big build.
Like seriously!!! Rahkeem Cornwall is not the only player who has heard the fat word. Before him, Pakistan batting great Inzamam-ul-Haq was called Alu (Potato) for his world-famous running between the wickets. Similarly, Indian off-spinner Ramesh Powar, Bermuda’s Dwayne Leverock, New Zealand’s Jesse Ryder, Australians Mark Cosgrove and Merv Hughes, and the Grand Old Man of cricket, WG Grace himself, have been body-shamed.
Given the perverse pleasure exhibited in trolling Cornwall, West Indies skipper Jason Holder, who took 3 wickets, must have felt insecure since no one was giving him a hard time for scalping India’s best.
It’s not as if the fat can’t field! Have we forgotten the one-handed flying catch of Bermuda’s Dwayne Leverock, another plump cricketer, against India in the 2007 World Cup. That superhuman effort sent opener Robin Uthappa back to the pavilion.
Ramesh Powar was stocky yes, but he could turn the ball and trap the best of batsmen. I guess there is no need to recount the long-long-long sixes Inzamam-ul-Haq heaved into the stands and beyond.
Just because a cricketer is overweight or has bulk doesn’t mean, he, or she, for that matter, can’t be good at cricket. And who knows what Rahkeem Cornwall will turn out to be?
Talking of heft, have you forgotten Sri Lankan great Arjuna Ranatunga. He used to hit the ball out of the park on most occasions. His appearance and leadership in the 1996 World Cup still has an impact in cricket lovers’ mind. The way Ranatunga hammered Australian leg spinner Shane Warne is still an example for budding lefties. He was unbeaten on 47 off 37 balls with 4 boundaries and a giant 6.
Ok trolls, do you even know about WG Grace? A big built man with a long white beard, he was the greatest English batsman. He led the English side for a record 44 seasons from 1865 to 1905 and clinched many records. He contributed in all 3 fields-batting, bowling and fielding- but got recognition for his hard-hitting.
Time could have made these big names sound ancient but how about young explosive Kiwi batsman Jesse Ryder? The Black Caps opener, who retired from international cricket after a road accident, was not less than a nightmare for bowlers.
The cuts and pulls and drives he could summon for the right ball were enough to melt any cricket fan’s heart. It was a pleasure watching him bat and thrash pacers. He handed victory to the Kiwis on many occasions by giving quick and big scores.
Congratulations, Rahkeem Cornwall, on your Test debut! Let the trolls go about their business, haven’t you heard of the saying, elephants don’t heed barking dogs. Oops!