Dwayne Bravo has pointed to his close friendship with West Indies captain Kieron Pollard as one of the factors that pleases him to be back in the West Indies maroon.
Despite missing the Caribbean Premier League last year due to injury and concerns over his fitness, Bravo was selected to represent the regional side in the Twenty20 International series against Ireland that starts in Grenada on Thursday. Bravo, who had previously announced his retirement from international cricket in 2018, has not played for the West Indies since September 2016.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’m happy that he is the captain. As most people would say, it’s a bit late. But for me nothing happens before its time and I think now is the right time as I said to him when he was offered the captaincy,” Bravo said.
“This is a very good time to take over because the team is at the bottom and they can’t go lower than it is now. I think the partnership with him and [head coach] Phil Simmons, the relationship that they both have … they can only work together and get West Indies cricket going upwards.
“As you can see in a very short space of time with the results that have been happening on the field and the attitude, a lot of things have started shaping up in a positive way. I’m very happy that now I have an opportunity to also be a part of a great rebuild in West Indies cricket.
“Pollard is my best friend so definitely [with] all my experience, we both collectively can actually work together. It’s just about how we can contribute and make things better for the younger players and also for the West Indies team,” Bravo said.
Last September in an Instagram post, Bravo congratulated Pollard on being named the West Indies white ball captain, and said with his countryman being the new skipper he could hopefully return to West Indies colours.
Pollard took over the captaincy of the T20 side from Carlos Brathwaite as well as the One-Day International captaincy from Jason Holder. Holder has since been rested from both white ball formats while Brathwaite has been dropped. Pollard has reaped success since his ascension to the leadership position with ODI whitewash wins over minnows Afghanistan and Ireland.
Bravo, who has scored 1142 runs in 66 Twenty20 Internationals at an average of 24.29 with four half-centuries, and taken 52 wickets at a run-rate of 8.46, was at the helm of the West Indies team when the 2014 tour to India was aborted as a result of industrial action led against Cricket West Indies by the Trinidad and Tobago all-rounder. After being dropped from the side and being replaced as captain by Holder, Bravo was one of the board’s most vociferous public critics.
When he takes the field on Thursday it will represent a full circle for the all-rounder who has plied his trade for approximately 20 franchises in 450 T20s across the globe while out of West Indies colours. With the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in October, Bravo who is reputed to be among the best “death bowlers” in the format, is likely to be among the first names selected. However, he played down any notion that his World Cup inclusion was discussed with the selectors.
“We never discuss anything like that (on T20 World Cup selection). Yes, a World Cup year, but it is only in October,” he said. “There’s this series and there’s a Sri Lanka series right after. I guess if I do well in this series, chances are I might be selected for the next series. It is just a matter of playing it by ear, series by series. Obviously they will be trying players to see what is the best combination and the best squad that they think and select come October. Starting off with the Ireland series is just one step to something positive in the making.”
Bravo also put in a plug for the 40-year-old Chris Gayle, saying he was looking forward to playing with Gayle again. Gayle, who has been wavering on his possible retirement and is currently playing in the Bangladesh Premier League, has not been selected for the Windies’ most recent T20I assignments against Afghanistan, India and Ireland.
Bravo said he was confident he would link up with Gayle soon.
“Well, he hasn’t gone anyway so I don’t think he has to make a comeback. He’s been there all the time as the Universe Boss as we call him. He is our leader. He is our real, real leader after Brian Lara. Yes, there was Chanderpaul and Sarwan, but Chris Gayle is the next real batting icon of the Caribbean that all the players look up to. He’s still playing.
“I’m looking forward to playing with him once again in the maroon. That will be good to see the Universe Boss and the Champion on the field again along with (Andre) Russell and (Sunil) Narine – all these players who we all wanted to play. That’s all we ever wanted to do. The Universe Boss will be there and about. Obviously he is on the other side of 40, so it is just a matter of managing him properly and picking different series to play him.”