Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 14th 2015 Contents A left-handed batsman with a style which has been compared to that of
his childhood idol and cousin Brian Lara, Darren Bravo is looking to impress
in the Caribbean Premier League alongside his brother Dwayne, who cap-
tains the Red Steel.
He is living proof that imitation is the best form of flattery and learning. Only
he chose to do it with one of the most inimitable masters of the game. To try to
imitate is one thing, to pull it off at Test level, to imbibe it so much that it be-
comes you, is quite another. The younger Bravo, used to watch cricket only for
Lara. As soon as Lara would get out, Bravo would switch off the TV and go out to
bat.The result was not quite The Prince, but a talented left-hand batsman with
the same walk, the same backlift, the same flourish, the same footwork, the
same mannerisms. The most incredible part, though, is that none of it seems
forced, gratuitous or less than the best that Bravo can do. The man was born to
bat this way, right down to the same Lara leap upon reaching a century.
It was that century that eluded Bravo for his first 31 ODIs, nine Tests and four
T20Is. The appetite, though, was there. For a stylish and attacking batsman, he is
one of the few young stars in world cricket who feels more at home as the
length of the format increases. His early century drought might suggest other-
wise, but he is a man for long innings, a man who seems to love to bat on and on.
His first century arrived in Bangladesh, in his tenth Test, and he made it a big one,
falling five short of a double. He scored two more in the series in India immedi-
ately after. After 12 Tests his run aggregate and average were identical to that of
Lara's after 12. He scored his first ODI century against Zimbabwe in 2013.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Bravo, born on October 7th, 1983, is a versatile all-rounder who brings excite-
ment to any game with his stroke-play out in the middle, exuberant medium-fast
bowling and spirited fielding. He has been an integral part of the West Indian ICC
World Twenty20 Squad since 2007 and is acknowledged as one of the top per-
formers in the Indian Premier League in 2012 and 2013. Bravo is a key member
for West Indies and took over from Darren Sammy as ODI captain in 2013. He
held the post till December 2014.
As a player, Bravo's skills and self-confidence at the big stage were never in doubt
right from the early days in his international career. He made his Test debut at Lord's
in July 2004, and took three wickets in the first innings with his medium-paced
swingers. He also showed a cool enough temperament to forge a confident start at
the crease with the bat. By the end of the series, it was clear that Bravo was a special
talent. He scored plenty of runs and claimed a bunch of wickets in four Tests, but
nowhere was his ability more evident than in Manchester, where he top-scored for
the team, and then restricted England with a six-wicket haul. He hit 107 against South
Africa in April 2004-05 at Antigua to bring up his maiden century and in November
2005, scored a magnificent 113 against Australia at Hobart. He dazzled in the ODI se-
ries against India in May 2006, bamboozling the batsmen with his slower ones and
chipping in with match-winning contributions with the bat. He grew as a player in the
limited-overs format in the 2006-07 season with a fluent unbeaten 112, his maiden
ODI ton, against England in the Champions Trophy and achieved his best career fig-
ures, 4 for 39, against India in the last game before the World Cup. He was often a rare
glimmer of joy among some depressing moments until an ankle injury struck in 2008
and ruled him out for eight months.
Around that time, his value as a Twenty20 player came into focus, and with several
such leagues coming - most prominently the IPL - Bravo chose those commitments
over the West Indian ones. In 2010, he, along with Kieron Pollard, turned down a WICB
central contract which would require him to be available to play for West Indies at all
times. Next year, he chose the IPL over a two-Test home series against Pakistan. Be-
tween 2011 and 2013, West Indies played 24 Tests but Bravo didn't play any of them.
On the other hand, he became a fixture in the Chennai Super Kings line-up in the
IPLs: in the 2013 season, he led the wickets tally with 32. He came back to play for
West Indies in the limited-overs games.
Vaneisa Baksh and ESPNcricinfo staff
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