Nicholas Pooran

STUDENT OF THE GAME: West Indies’ Nicholas Pooran, seated, talks cricket with star all-rounder Andre Russell during a training session in Southampton on June 13, 2019, ahead of their ICC World Cup match against hosts England.

—Photo: AFP

Veteran all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has backed dashing West Indies left-hander Nicholas Pooran to make a successful transition to Test cricket.

While Pooran has only featured in the white-ball format to date, Bravo said his fellow Trinidadian possessed all the qualities necessary to dominate in the longest format, if he decided to make himself available.

“I know he wants to play at some point – I don’t know when. Definitely, someone like Pooran batting at six or seven is going to be very good for West Indies, very handy in that lower order when bowlers [are] tired,” Bravo told the Observer newspaper here.

“It’s just like when Australia used to use Adam Gilchrist or how India use [Mahendra Singh] Dhoni. These guys come in and damage bowlers, hurt teams in the late stages [of the innings].”

The 24-year-old Pooran has emerged as one of West Indies’ most consistent batsmen in recent times, averaging 49 from 25 One-Day Internationals.

He is also a fixture in the Twenty20 International setup where he has played 21 matches and he recently signed a lucrative deal in the Indian Premier League with Kings XI Punjab.

However, Pooran has featured in only three first class matches for Trinidad and Tobago – all coming in the 2014 season – and has never played again.

Bravo, who suited up in 40 Tests between 2004 and 2010 before turning his attention to the shorter formats, said he did not believe Pooran’s lack of experience would be a stumbling block.

“He hasn’t played much [red-ball cricket] but I’m sure he will do well,” the former Windies one-day skipper said.

“He’s a student of the game [and] he’s someone who does a lot of researching and self-investment in his own cricket. He asks a lot of questions.

“I think with time, Pooran is definitely somebody West Indies should look at for Test cricket.”

Many of West Indies’ best players have opted for the shorter formats in recent years, with the likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Bravo all becoming T20 specialists.

And with Pooran’s success so far in the white-ball version, there is no indication he will make the transition to the longest format.

Bravo, whose 497 wickets from 455 wickets has made him the most successful bowler in T20s, said financial security was usually the deciding factor in whether to focus on Test cricket.

“It’s an individual decision. We all know how important Test cricket is and I had a good stint of it for, like six years, representing West Indies,” he pointed out.

“But times change, things change, players now more gravitate to the shorter format of the game because it gives you a better security financially. It’s always smarter and wiser to go with the safer option where you can benefit financially, so you can have a good life after cricket.”

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

Back in training with the Trinidad and Tobago senior men’s national team, Mekeil Williams feels the time is ripe to re-focus, both for himself and for football in T&T as a whole.

TOP Trinidad and Tobago swimmer Dylan Carter has focused on eking out more rest and mental fine-tuning heading into the Grande Finale of the International Swimming League (ISL) 2020 that splashes off today and tomorrow in Budapest, Hungary.

Chairman of the Trinidad & Tobago Football Association (TTFA) normalisation committee, business executive Robert Hadad said it will be a long, arduous process to restore credibility and stability into the organisation and the sport in the two-island republic.

The Hero Caribbean Premier League T20 was in high demand in 2020 with over half of a billion fans following the tournament on TV, streaming and digital media and the tournament’s chief operating officer Pete Russell is hopeful that those numbers can be maintained or even be surpassed come 2021.

FIFA yesterday announced that Trini­dad and Tobago is once again free to play international football by lifting the suspension it imposed on September 24.

The news has thrilled several members of the local football fraternity, among them senior men’s national coach Terry Fenwick; TT Pro League acting chairman Brent Sancho; Clayton Morris, the former national team captain and Futsal coach; and boys Under-17 national coach Angus Eve.