Trinidad and Tobago Red Force skipper Darren Bravo is looking forward to getting back to international cricket after being selected on the West Indies Test team to travel to New Zealand for two Tests in December.
The 31-year-old left-hander’s previous Test appearance came more than a year ago against India. He subsequently declined to tour England earlier this year in what was the first international cricket series to be played in the Covid-19 pandemic.
The stylish middle order batsman, who averages 37.69 from 54 Tests, enters the series as the team’s most accomplished batsman having scored eight centuries and 17 half-centuries. The only other batsman in the set-up with more experience is opener Kraigg Brathwaite, who averages 33.08 from 62 Tests.
In announcing the squad earlier this month chairman of West Indies selectors Roger Harper said he expects that the return of Bravo “will solidify the top-order, hopefully making it more productive.”
In an interview with TV6 last week, Bravo said he was expecting a tough series but is ready to step up to meet the challenges ahead. “I’m happy. I’m looking forward to the tour. I know it’s going to be a tough challenge playing in New Zealand so I’m excited about that,” he said.
As a batsman, Bravo said he is ready to do whatever is necessary to help his team come out on top. The Windies batting failed to live up to expectations with Shai Hope ultimately paying the price for his prolonged poor form that culminated with Jason Holder’s men taking a 1-0 series lead in England only to lose the three-match series 2-1.
“As a player I always want to do well and do whatever it takes to help my team come out on top. It doesn’t always happen but it’s always my intention,” said Bravo, adding, “This time around won’t be any different. It’s all about taking that responsibility and trying to be the best that I can be.”
With T&T still observing Covid-19 restrictions, team sports are still prohibited with gatherings restricted to ten persons. With no cricket being played, T&T players selected to go on the tour of New Zealand have had to make do with individual work and net sessions.
Other T&T players heading to New Zealand for the Test portion on the tour include fast-bowlers Shannon Gabriel, who is in the Test squad, as well as wicket-keeper/batsman Joshua Da Silva and teenage fast-bowler Jayden Seales, who are both part of the five-man reserve group.
Asked how his training is coming a long for ahead of the tour, Bravo said: “Training could have been better where outdoor practice is concerned. The weather hasn’t been nice lately but having said that I’ve still tried to get in as much as possible both home and at the cricket centre (National Cricket Centre) indoor nets.”
Asked if he would have liked to also be part of the West Indies T20 team that will play three T20 Internationals ahead of the Test series, Bravo, who is also coming off a successful Caribbean Premier League campaign with the Trinbago Knight Riders, said his is focused on the job at hand.
While he admitted to being “a bit surprised” about not making the T20 cut, Bravo revealed: “I have reached a point in my life where I only try to focus on things I have control over.”
“I always say man plans but God laughs. Whichever format I get an opportunity to play in as I’m fit; my aim is to execute my role and responsibility to the best of my ability,” Bravo concluded.
Test Squad: Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Chemar Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach.