COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- The West Indies have assembled some of the leading power-hitters of the modern era in their 15-man squad for the ICC World T20 tournament. The Windies also have in their line-up the class and elegance of Darren Bravo, the free-scoring left-hander, who might not have the power of team-mates such as Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard, but believes the key to his style of batting is to “play it smart”.
“We have been here in Sri Lanka over a week now and we have had a good chance to look at the conditions and a few other teams. I have also been working on a few things in the nets. The aim is always to get better at what you do. If you keep it simple and play it smart you will get success. I always look to work the ball into the gaps and keep it ticking,” the 23-year-old said.
“People tend to think that 20 overs is not a lot of overs, but I tend to look at it as balls – there are 120 balls in an innings and that is a lot of balls when you think about it. If I go in with 100 balls to go, I think that gives me the best possible chance to get a good start and manoeuvre the ball into the spaces. After that you then look to hit the big sixes and fours coming on at the end...just try to play it smart.”
The West Indies will continue their preparations for the tournament with a full training session at Colts Cricket Ground on Thursday at 9 am. The regional side have been drawn in Group B alongside Australia and Ireland and both first round matches will be at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Their opening match will be against the Aussies on Saturday at 7:30 pm (10 am Eastern Caribbean Time/9 am Jamaica Time). The second match will be against the Irish on Monday, also under lights at 7:30 pm.
“I have played some good innings in the past and that has given me the confidence to go out and perform. It is important that I continue doing what I have been doing and that I believe in myself. As long as I do that I know I can get the job done for the team,” added Bravo, who wears the Windies Number 46 jersey.
“It is very important for me to understand my role and responsibility in the team set-up. There are a lot of power-hittters in the team so it is important that when I get my chance, I look to settle down and bat around the others. It is something that the coach and myself, we spoke about, and I am quite settled with the role I have to play.”
Meanwhile, older brother Dwayne Bravo is confident he can rediscover the form that saw him produce one of the best allround displays in the short history of the ICC World T20 tournament. Back in 2009, Bravo took four wickets and made a match-winning half-century as the Windies outplayed India at Lord’s.
In that match Bravo had two career-best performances. He bowled first change and took 4-38 – the wickets of Gautam Gambhir, MS Dhoni, and brothers Irfan Pathan and Yusuf Pathan. He returned with the bat to scorch a magical 66 not out off 36 balls, including three sixes which sailed into the crowd. That year the West Indies reached the semi-finals, their best showing in the ICC World T20.
“I would rate that performance as my best in Twenty20 cricket at the international level and it is something that I will remember for some time. I played really well on that day under pressure and set up a good win. I believe I am at that level in my game. I know I have a big part to play in the team during this tournament and I will look to contribute in all departments,” Bravo said.
“It’s good to come into the tournament and have people show us the kind of respect and admiration to rate us among the top teams. We have come here as a confident team and we believe we can do very well for the people back home,” the experienced 28-year-old said.
“The momentum can change very quickly in this format of the game – one good ball, one good catch, one good shot can bring a complete change in the match. We believe we have a good team with allround balance. We will look to do well in the first round and qualify for the Super Eights and then take it from there.”
Bravo is rated as one of the most dynamic players in world cricket. The latest Twenty20 rankings released by the ICC saw him listed at Number 5 in the Allrounders ladder. The Windies Number 47 made his international debut back in 2004 and has been an integral part of the team since then.
Looking at the conditions, Bravo noted: “The pitches look like they will suit our style of play. We will have to make sure that on game day we are ready for what any team throws at us. The two teams in our group are different in their styles and in the make-up of their teams.
“Ireland have upset a number of teams before and we won’t take them lightly at all. The Australians are well organised and well drilled so we have a good sense of what we have to do to win and advance.”