Sport-Filler

WEST INDIES middle-order batsman Darren Bravo said spending time in the middle will be central to him earning big runs for the upcoming two-Test series against New Zealand.

The Windies number three featured in a third-wicket stand of 122 with Shamarh Brooks in their warm-up match on tour, against a New Zealand ‘A’ team at Queenstown over the weekend, scoring a majestic 135 (from 214 balls) which included 13 fours and five sixes. The match ended in a predictable draw.

Brooks, however, missed out on a hundred, perishing for 80 (152 balls) while West Indies skipper Roston Chase contributed 42, although the rest of the lower order capitulated as they eventually ended 366 all out.

Bravo said what he focused on in his knock was remaining at the crease as long as possible. “Most importantly for me was spending as much time as possible in the middle,” said the 31-year-old left-handed batsman. “I know, if I batted for two and a half hours I would most likely get a good score, so it wasn’t really about focusing on the runs. So that was my main goal and I did that.”

Bravo said that was the same approach he adopted in training when batting in the nets for his 20 minutes slot; not trying to lose his wicket and play the balls on merit.

“Coming back to the game, I knew if I did get through that period—sometimes you get lazy as a batman—the runs will come. The coach asked us to concentrate on that and that is what I tried to focus on,” he emphasised.

The Trinbago Knight Riders player in the CPL was also positive and confident about the chances of Jermaine Blackwood and John Campbell coming good when the Test series starts, noting they are both putting in the work.

He hinted to the wickets in New Zealand being fair and that the track and conditions lent itself to the batsmen who exhibited patience and determination to stay in the middle.

Bravo, who opted out of the Tour of England last July, added it was also crucial for the West Indies to get off to solid starts against the home side, a role he plans to fulfil.

“For any innings to be successful, you need to have a good foundation. Batting at number three, I want to set the right tone for the team and don’t necessarily want to expose the middle-order to the new ball,” he explained. “...Being a senior player it is important to set the tone and show the right example. I think it will be an interesting series and once we back ourselves as much as possible, we will put up a good fight. I am excited and I think it is about time I really start to get the runs flowing once more.”

As for the bowlers, Bravo was of the view that they improved from the first innings to the second, following a good team review and chat.

“We weren’t testing the defences of (the) New Zealand batters. We were a bit too wild,” Bravo assessed. “There was an improvement going into the second innings but we still didn’t really get the success that we wanted. Our bowlers like Jason Holder, Kemar Roach and Alzari (Joseph) have been exceptional for us in the last two to three years, so I back them,” adding, “There is nothing to be negative about. They got a good run and a good feel in the warm-up, so I am not really worried about our bowling.”

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