Hero Caribbean Premier League chief operations officer Pete Russell promised big moves in the build-up to the 2021 players’ draft later this month. And the first announcement lived up to the hype, with Trinbago Knight Riders all-rounder Dwayne Bravo leaving the defending champions to take on new challenges with the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots (SKNP).
TKR announced yesterday that Bravo was traded to the Patriots in exchange for Denesh Ramdin, while Sunil Narine was named vice-captain with skipper Kieron Pollard staying at the helm.
TKR manager Colin Borde, reacting to the news, hailed Bravo as a fierce competitor and said while the 37-year-old will be missed, there will now be opportunities for other players to rise to the challenge.
Meanwhile, former West Indies World Cup winner Samuel Badree said Bravo played an integral role in TKR’s success over the years and expects the move to add some equity to the teams and the competition after TKR’s dominant unbeaten run to the title last year.
Speaking to the Express about Bravo’s departure, Borde said: “Dwayne has always been fiercely committed to developing the next generation and with this move, he can continue to work with various players to achieve that goal.
“TKR has as its mandate to develop new players and we certainly will support his efforts. As a player, he will be missed for his energy, experience, skills and sharing of knowledge off the field. TKR had been a successful franchise based on the collective efforts of all team members and the supporting cast,” Borde added.
He also noted that with Kieron Pollard at the helm and with the squad available, TKR will continue to strive towards excelling in any tournament and in all conditions.
“Dwayne’s death bowling skills will (also) be missed but opportunities will present themselves in various forms and our roles are to rise to any challenges and continue to grow. To him we say: Bravo, Bravo....Thank you,” Borde concluded.
Asked for his take on the move, Badree, who is also an international cricket commentator and former player with the Trinidad and Tobago franchise, said while it might have been a big blow to TKR, it was a good move for the tournament.
“Having seen the tournament last year and the dominance of the TKR, it is nice to see some movement in terms of equalising the teams and ensuring the tournament is still very competitive, so certainly from that standpoint it is a good move for the tournament itself,” the former West Indies leg-spinner explained.
“Dwayne was an integral member of TKR from a leadership standpoint being the captain for a number of years and winning titles and also from a performance standpoint, he has led the way. So, it will be a big blow for them. He has been such a vital member of the team over the years and the brand he was able to build with TKR, that will surely be missed,” Badree continued.
“I think there was some succession planning with TKR in the role that they gave Kieron Pollard a couple of years ago when he came to the team, so they probably had at the back of their minds that at some stage Bravo will either no longer be playing or would want to move, so I think they did well in terms of having that covered, so Pollard has been given that leadership role two years now so he himself has become part of TKR,” he added.
In terms of replicating their dominance in the competition Badree said even without Bravo, TKR have a strong core of players which will always make them a threat.
“I don’t know the combination of the team to say whether or not they will still be as dominant but from the core they have, I think they are still a very strong team. But to fill the boots of someone like Dwayne Bravo, it is a big void to fill,” he added.
Speaking about his own departure, Bravo said:“At this stage in my career, I needed a new challenge, which is to work with the young talent for the benefit of Cricket West Indies.
“Also becoming part of a new franchise, SKNP will provide me with a new challenge in CPL. I want to thank TKR for respecting my wishes and for all their support over the years. I also appreciate everything they have done for Trinidad and Tobago in general,” he added.
Bravo’s contribution to the franchise was described as “instrumental” by director of TKR Venky Mysore, who said the all-rounder played an integral role in building the franchise into a champion team.
“DJ Bravo has been instrumental in not only building TKR into a champion team, but also captained the team which earned three championships in 2015, 2017 and 2018. We are sad to see him leave, but we respect his wishes and his desire to help Caribbean cricket,” Mysore said.
“We are delighted that someone of the calibre of Kieron Pollard is leading TKR and also happy to announce Sunil Narine as the vice-captain of TKR,” he concluded.