West Indies captain Brian Lara pushed himself to number nine in a league game against India in last month's DLF Cup in Malaysia. The idea was to give his younger teammates an opportunity to shoulder responsibility. But the players disappointed and one of them was Dwayne Bravo, upon whom the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has pinned a lot of hopes. This was only one of several similar instances.
“It is disappointing not to be able to shoulder the opportunity,” Bravo said here on Tuesday after practice two days before the West Indies' Group 'A' second-stage match against India. “Brian showed the way to the younger players but we did not make full use of it.
“We know where we are going wrong and are dejected about it. We are sorting out our problems. Come this game (against India), the guys will, hopefully, get some runs under their belt.”
Bravo has himself been struggling with the bat, though his role with the ball has been valuable, thanks to his slower ones. He has a poor batting average in ODIs, and apart from two half-centuries against India this year, he hardly has any score to boast of.
On his own form, the 23-year-old from Trinidad said: “There were some basic flaws in my batting, like balance. Runs bring confidence and I did not have much of them in the last few games leading to the DLF Cup and this tournament. My confidence was down and I needed someone by my side for help, to ensure that I got my confidence back and my feet moving.”
Aid came from none other than the great Clive Lloyd, who had a long session with Bravo at the nets after his side's defeat to Sri Lanka in Mumbai.
“Not having scores behind my name was one of the reasons why my confidence was lacking,” he said. “It was nice to have Sir Clive Lloyd in the midst of things. His knowledge helped me and I am feeling much better in the nets.”
Bravo's slower ones have caught many a batsman on the wrong foot. The Indians were done in by the weapon on their trip to the Caribbean this year. Bravo said he started to work on the slower one at a young age.
Bravo is not particularly keen on bowling at express pace like the Caribbeans are known to. “I am working on my control,” he said. “I ensure that I bowl in the right areas and am on top of my bowling form.”
One of the world’s brilliant fielders, Bravo said he had a responsible role in that aspect of the game. “We West Indians enjoy fielding,” he said. “We are great athletes in the outfield. Dwayne Smith and myself boost the Windies in the fielding department. We get all the other guys to follow as well. We also watch and learn from other fielding greats like Jonty Rhodes, Herschelle Gibbs and Ricky Ponting.”
There is one goal that Bravo is hoping to achieve. “At the end of my playing career, I'd love to be known as one of the great all-rounders that played the game.”