West Indies batsman Darren Bravo plays a shot during the third ODI cricket match between India and West Indies at Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera in Ahmedabad.
Despite their maiden victory of the tour at Ahmedabad on Monday night, the West Indies team management is wary. After all, Darren Bravo, who emerged as a force to reckon with during the series, had limped off the field while batting due to a left ligament injury.
Though uncertain for the fourth ODI on Thursday, Bravo, in an interview to HT, spoke on his coming of age and, of course, carrying the tag of being the next Brian Lara. Excerpts:
What has been the highlight of your six weeks in India?
Getting two hundreds in two Tests was a special feeling. But playing against guys like Sachin (Tendulkar) and Rahul (Dravid) was more special. They have achieved some awesome feats in Test matches, and it was a learning experience watching them on the field. Hopefully, I can carry the form into the (rest of the) one-dayers and help the West Indies win the series.
How did you prepare for the spin challenge?
I knew the India spinners were going to attack me. I love to play my strokes irrespective of the format, and I knew they would not give me room. So, I tried to get the bat in front of the pad as much as possible, and the strategy paid off.
You played a series in Bangladesh before coming to India. How did it help?
The conditions in Bangladesh were similar to what we got here. So, I was confident that I could tackle the conditions here. An open mind helped me perform. I hope these knocks will help me earn a name and that I can convert the starts — something I haven't done in the past — in the future.
How challenging has it been to carry the tag of the next Lara?
I’ve never thought of the Lara tag as baggage. It was a coincidence that my natural game resembled Lara’s. Yes, we all know that I have the Lara style, and it was something (that) got on with me when I was kid, and stayed on. Yes, it helped me stay in the spotlight in the early part of my career.
Do you think the India tour will help you shed that tag?
I guess shedding the Lara tag will be tough because my natural game is like his, and people call me ‘Lara, Lara’ wherever I go. But I don’t want to live with it. I would like to be known as Darren Bravo.
You must be looking forward to the Australia tour.
Yes, that will be a big challenge. We have a young batting line-up with Shiv (Chanderpaul) in the middle order, so we need to work as a unit. I know the opposition bowlers will be on the lookout so I need to back my natural game to stay ahead of the competition.