Mike Holmans April 1, 2009

Bravo, Bravo!

Dwayne Bravo does not take as many wickets as the other bowlers, nor does he score as many runs as those higher in the order, but then his contribution is more qualitative than quantitative
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The West Indies-England ODI series has been a pretty scrappy affair, the games mostly being given away by incompetence rather than won by superior play. Even should the deciding match take place and be a humdinger, this will still not be a series many will wish to remember.

Except for one thing: the return of Dwayne Bravo to international cricket.

He is that rarity in West Indians, an allrounder. In their 80-year history as a Test team, they have only really had five: Learie Constantine, Gerry Gomez, Frank Worrell, Garry Sobers and now Bravo. Collis King was a very useful one-day allrounder, but it takes thinking very hard to come up with any other names unless you want to give the benefit of the doubt to the spin of Viv Richards, Carl Hooper or Chris Gayle – and I incline not to.

In the years after WW2, a popular call-and-response in the Caribbean was “Who de best cricketer in de West Indez? It’s Gerry Gomez!”

Gomez’s statistics don’t scream “megastar”, but he was a player of a very similar cast to Bravo – a medium pace bowler who batted at six or seven and one of the best fielders in the side, though Gomez caught close and Bravo is a run-saver. And calling Bravo the best player that West Indies have is at least plausible.

He does not take as many wickets as the other bowlers, nor does he score as many runs as those higher in the order, but then his contribution is more qualitative than quantitative. He is dangerous. A side may think they are getting on top, but then Bravo disabuses them of that notion, whether by getting rid of the partners in a stand of 140 in the first and second over of his spell, breaking the grip a bowler was tightening by smacking him for three fours and a six, or making a brilliant catch or direct-hit runout.

He is the action hero who drops out of a helicopter on to the roof of a moving car, slides in through the window, grabs the steering wheel and wrenches it into a U-turn with one hand while incapacitating the driver with the other.

Of course, it’s rare that stunts like that come at the end of the movie. All that has been achieved is a temporary advantage. Whether it is decisive will usually depend on whether the backup arrives in time to press that advantage home.

Under the indolent leadership of the somnambulistic Gayle, it is all too possible that the backup will finish their drinks and smoke a cigar before making their way to the scene in their own good time, but Bravo’s evident passion is at least partial insurance against such sloth. His committed enthusiasm ought to be infectious, but even when it isn’t his vocal displeasure at sloppiness in the field lashes the lazy into line.

It is most likely that his contributions will be recognised as decisive in the shorter forms of the game – if he has not done so already, he should commission a joiner to come up with a display case for all the Man-of-the-Match awards he is going to pick up – but he will also be the man who tipped close Tests West Indies way. Even though someone else gets the credit for a century or six-for, the crucial moment will have been when Bravo ran out Graeme Smith or smote Harbhajan Singh from the attack.

He is an exciting player in the best sense - he makes things happen and matches come alive when he is involved. It is good to welcome him back.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vikram Maingi on April 24, 2009, 18:09 GMT

    I agree with Fitzroy Jimmy Adams was a true all-rounder. Perhaps the only player in Test cricket who has bowled and also kept wickets in the same over of the Test match.

  • fitzroy on April 21, 2009, 21:08 GMT

    i am not saying that bravo is not a ture allrounder but what about jimmy adam don't left him out.

  • blake on April 7, 2009, 18:52 GMT

    Abednego; NO-ONE is going to count a man (Phil Simmons)with 4 test wickets as a true allrounder.

  • Hayden on April 7, 2009, 3:41 GMT

    Great article...I noticed in the story about the West Indies squad to tour England, that Bravo isn't named in the squad. Is this an error? Or is he not touring? If so, why not?

  • Ray walters on April 7, 2009, 1:18 GMT

    just to remind the author of a certain mister keith boyce barbadian allrounder, i had the privalage of seeing him play he was quite something !!!

  • Samuel Brathwaite on April 6, 2009, 0:12 GMT

    Bravo to Bravo, he deserve the the salutation. Without a doubt Keith Boyce lit up games similar to Bravo in his day, even though the shorter version of the games was not played as today. He is certainly one of the true West Indian allrounder.

  • Shaggygunda on April 5, 2009, 18:56 GMT

    Will he play in IPL??

  • Abednego on April 5, 2009, 7:28 GMT

    All of you missed Phil Simmons.

  • Kaushik Lakshman on April 4, 2009, 2:27 GMT

    I agree with tour assessment on Bravo. He was very useful as an all rounder in IPL 2008 for Mumbai Indians. Anyway i really enjoy watching him play whether balling or batting. He is an invaluable asset to any team...Cheers Bravo!!!!

  • Abby Brathwaite on April 3, 2009, 14:29 GMT

    I agree with all your summations about Bravo, he is a live wire ... your comments about Gayle's leadership are remarkably harsh ... although not entirely unfounded. I am sure that you have more than enough statistics to back your claim of his indolence however as a ardent WI supporter I could not help but hope you would soon live to regret your embarrassing dismissal Chris Gayle's leadership.

    [Mike: Back in the 1980s, David Gower was described as being so laid-back that if he went any further he'd be horizontal. Gayle is the only captain I can think of who actually makes Gower look like a human dynamo.

    The troops obviously love him, and he leads from the front with the bat, but in the field it seems to take him half an hour to notice anything at all.]

  • Vikram Maingi on April 24, 2009, 18:09 GMT

    I agree with Fitzroy Jimmy Adams was a true all-rounder. Perhaps the only player in Test cricket who has bowled and also kept wickets in the same over of the Test match.

  • fitzroy on April 21, 2009, 21:08 GMT

    i am not saying that bravo is not a ture allrounder but what about jimmy adam don't left him out.

  • blake on April 7, 2009, 18:52 GMT

    Abednego; NO-ONE is going to count a man (Phil Simmons)with 4 test wickets as a true allrounder.

  • Hayden on April 7, 2009, 3:41 GMT

    Great article...I noticed in the story about the West Indies squad to tour England, that Bravo isn't named in the squad. Is this an error? Or is he not touring? If so, why not?

  • Ray walters on April 7, 2009, 1:18 GMT

    just to remind the author of a certain mister keith boyce barbadian allrounder, i had the privalage of seeing him play he was quite something !!!

  • Samuel Brathwaite on April 6, 2009, 0:12 GMT

    Bravo to Bravo, he deserve the the salutation. Without a doubt Keith Boyce lit up games similar to Bravo in his day, even though the shorter version of the games was not played as today. He is certainly one of the true West Indian allrounder.

  • Shaggygunda on April 5, 2009, 18:56 GMT

    Will he play in IPL??

  • Abednego on April 5, 2009, 7:28 GMT

    All of you missed Phil Simmons.

  • Kaushik Lakshman on April 4, 2009, 2:27 GMT

    I agree with tour assessment on Bravo. He was very useful as an all rounder in IPL 2008 for Mumbai Indians. Anyway i really enjoy watching him play whether balling or batting. He is an invaluable asset to any team...Cheers Bravo!!!!

  • Abby Brathwaite on April 3, 2009, 14:29 GMT

    I agree with all your summations about Bravo, he is a live wire ... your comments about Gayle's leadership are remarkably harsh ... although not entirely unfounded. I am sure that you have more than enough statistics to back your claim of his indolence however as a ardent WI supporter I could not help but hope you would soon live to regret your embarrassing dismissal Chris Gayle's leadership.

    [Mike: Back in the 1980s, David Gower was described as being so laid-back that if he went any further he'd be horizontal. Gayle is the only captain I can think of who actually makes Gower look like a human dynamo.

    The troops obviously love him, and he leads from the front with the bat, but in the field it seems to take him half an hour to notice anything at all.]

  • Stafford Byers on April 3, 2009, 5:07 GMT

    This is indeed a good article, and Bravo deserves all the kudos in the world. On the field he is dynamic and electric. Nevertheless let us not forget Bernard Julien, he even made a century at Lords, remember? And what about Roger Harper and David Holford? On the contemporary scene let us not forget Darren Sammy and Brendon Nash. These were and are genuine all rounders, dont you think?

    [Mike: In other discussions, I've been convinced of the merits of Bernard Julien. I'm not convinced that the others have been worthwhile *as allrounders* in international cricket, whatever they may have achieved in first-class cricket.

    In particular, if Nash's bowling is supposed to qualify him as an all-rounder, then the term is meaningless.]

  • safwan on April 3, 2009, 3:33 GMT

    Sadly, talent-wise international cricket is becoming poorer by the day......most legends of the modern era have faded into retirement....while the remaining few (sachin, yousuf, dravid, ponting, kallis) will soon join the list....in this bitter and depressing scenario, players like dwayne bravo, jesse ryder and Jp duminy offer some incentive for cricket lovers to stay attatched to the game.!!!

  • blake on April 3, 2009, 3:03 GMT

    Excellent article. Bravo brings verve, exhiliration and more importantly in terms of what the others lack, professionalism and belief to the team.

    The idea of him opening the batting is bold, I had never considered it before but it may be worth a try, it may solve the perennial opening problem and the lower order with Shiv, Nash,and Ramdin and Taylor improving is not bad now even without Bravo. I can't remember an opening allrounder since Manoj Prabhakar.

  • Ali on April 3, 2009, 1:25 GMT

    Dwayne Bravo is not a no 6 or 7 batsman. In fact he's a better version of Mudassar Nazar. He's a golden arm with the ball and a flamboyant batsman.

    He can become Windies best player if he opens the batting.

  • dilip mahanty on April 2, 2009, 22:17 GMT

    While listing Indian all rounders most people missed two genuine ones viz. Dattu Phadkar and Amar Singh. Phadkar was a pacy swing bowler and an established lower middle order batsman who had two Test hundreds against the might of Bradman's Australia which was spearheaded by a pace attack of Lindwall, Miller & Johnston.

  • Youvi on April 2, 2009, 22:01 GMT

    In his book 'One More Over" former India off-spinner EAS Prasanna states the only true all-rounders India has produced are Vinoo Mankad and Salim Durrani. Kapil Dev began his international career after the book was published and Kapil would be the third genuine all-rounder from India. As Prasanna states in his book several utility players are described incorrectly as all-rounders. This is not to undermine the contributions of utility players such as Eknath Solkar, Madanlal, Roger Binny and other who have contributed in such rich measure through their batting/bowling/fielding. By definition, an all-rounder must be a player who could be selected to a team on the basis of his batting or bowling alone- he should be able to pass muster as a specialist batsman and as a specialist bowler. Obviously, this is a select list - Imran, Mankad, Kapil, Sobers, Hadlee, Botham and a few others.

  • Jason Brissett on April 2, 2009, 19:57 GMT

    I also think that Bravo is a good player but lets not forget about Jerome Tayelor who is coming into his own. Bravo is a natural allrounder but Taylor has showed that with a bit more experience and mayb batting a bit earlier in the order he might become one of the best

  • Asker Mirza on April 2, 2009, 19:07 GMT

    I am not too familiar with all allrounders who played for WI but as far as Indian list of allrounders are concerned, I would list them like this: Lala Amarnath,Vinoo Mankad,Polly Umrigar Salim Durrani,Syed Abid Ali,Eknath Solkar, Kapil Dev,Manoj Prabhakar, Ravi Shastri, Robin Singh. Others like Jaisimha,Bapu Nadkarni,Rusi surti, Venkat,Ghavri,Madanlal,Roger Binny, Srinath,Kumble,Krish Sreekant,Tendulkar Harbhajan, Sehwag, Zaheer, Yuvraj are either bowlers or batsmen who can do the other way around a little bit, this list should include wicketkeepers too like Engineer, Kirmani, Budhi Kunderan, More, Mongia etc. If I am right the real definition of an allrounder who does bowl good, bat good, and field good.On this criteria only three can be called real alrounders, they are Syed Abid Ali,Eknath Solkar, Kapil Dev.

  • Ken on April 2, 2009, 18:09 GMT

    A pretty good assessment of Dwayne Bravo's value to the West Indies side,and a refreshingly even perspective by Mike...who still cannot resist the sideswipe at Gayle,however.As others have pointed out,some important West Indian all rounders not mentioned,including Frank Worrell,who was a better than useful bowler.

    [Mike: Read the list of 5 all-rounders again, Ken.]

  • Prasad on April 2, 2009, 16:58 GMT

    Bravo is a more than decent all rounder for West indies.On his day can b a match-winner.But i honestly believe WI should opt for Dwayne Smith in place of Pollard or Sammy to further enhance the chances of becoming a consistent performing squad.

  • cricket fan on April 2, 2009, 16:14 GMT

    The article was about Bravo and windies allrounders and not how many any other country might or might not have produce, However, apart from australia the windies is the only other team at this point in time that can genuinely claim to have ever dominated WORLD CRICKET. Therefore, at the end of the day,it doesn't matter if Bravo was only the second allrounder in 100 years. Bravo to him!

  • RSingh on April 2, 2009, 15:08 GMT

    Good article with some knowledgable comments. Joe Solomon and Keith Arthurton were considered all-rounders on their respective teams.

  • Geoff on April 2, 2009, 14:03 GMT

    Brovo Dawyne, while Bravo is good for WI cricket it is also good for world cricket in terms of excitement. Good article by my favorite writer, Mike. In response to Biny please give a feed back on Bravo and WI allrounders since the article was centered on Bravo and WI allrounders and not Durani and Prabakar, leave comments for Indian cricket and their cricketers for a separate article. Biny the article is centered around Brave and WI so give your comments to Mike about the article at hand

  • Martin Vengadesan on April 2, 2009, 9:23 GMT

    Decent article ... as a huge Windies fan, have often thought about why the team that gave the game the greatest allrounder of them all in Sobers has generally been deficit in this department. In 26 years of following the game, Bravo has definitely come closest to fitting the allrounder role and it's great to see him back.

    I agree with Cad that there are some glaring omissions though ... most criminal of which is O'Neil "Collie" Smith (whose tragic death at age 26 curtailled a potentially glorious career) ... others include sporadically brilliant talents like Keith Boyce, Franklyn Stephenson and the afore-mentioned Bernard Julien, or the more sedate pair of Denis Atkinson and John Goddard.

  • Suhas on April 2, 2009, 9:01 GMT

    How about Keith Boyce? He and Julien would probably be in the same bracket. And wasn't Collie Smith, the man who died in a car accident which involved Sobers, supposed to be an allrounder of some repute himself? And there's the 'rebel' Franklyn Stephenson, who played in South Africa. Sobers notwithstanding, he was probably the all-round great the Windies never had.

    Re HL Cadambi: You missed Manoj Prabhakar. Perhaps Dattu Phadkar and Karsan Ghavri might also ake the list? And there's Salim Durrani too.

  • lakesidey on April 2, 2009, 8:48 GMT

    "Under the indolent leadership of the somnambulistic Gayle" - isn't that a trifle harsh on the poor man? I thought he was doing a rather good job :) I agree with much of what you say though....looking forward to seeing what Bravo can do in the year(s) ahead.

  • Woody Venkat on April 2, 2009, 8:32 GMT

    Roger Harper must be considered an allrounder of sorts he had first class 200's if im not mistaken. Sure at TEST and ODI level his stats don't stack up. Never the less an all-rounder. I thought Hendy Bryan had potential i don't know where hes gone must be old by now.

  • biny on April 2, 2009, 7:55 GMT

    You may add Salim Durrani and Manoj Prabhakar who were genuine all rounders for India

  • Zeeshan on April 2, 2009, 6:55 GMT

    although he is a refreshing addition to looming west indies side, but he didnt look gentle while being "over" for missed chances, appeals etc anyway better to have him

  • H L Cadambi (Cad) on April 2, 2009, 6:27 GMT

    Only 5 all rounders? Amazing! I racked my brain, and the following came up. Malcolm Marshall? Bernard Julien? John Goddard? David Holford?

    Maybe Marshall - but, if you are not admitting Viv Richards in (master batsman, passable bowler) then Marshall (master bowler, passable batsman) cannot get a look in either.

    Racked my brain on Indian all rounders after that. Came up with Lala Amarnath, Kapil Dev, Vinoo Mankad, Polly Umrigar,Ravi Shastri as possibly sure entrants into the list. And then - Chandu Borde, Bapu Nadkarni, Madan Lal, Roger Binny, Eknath Solkar, Rusi Surti, M L Jaisimha, ...maybe Harbhajan Singh, the way he has batted very recently! But all very iffy.

    Who all have I missed?

    Cad

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  • H L Cadambi (Cad) on April 2, 2009, 6:27 GMT

    Only 5 all rounders? Amazing! I racked my brain, and the following came up. Malcolm Marshall? Bernard Julien? John Goddard? David Holford?

    Maybe Marshall - but, if you are not admitting Viv Richards in (master batsman, passable bowler) then Marshall (master bowler, passable batsman) cannot get a look in either.

    Racked my brain on Indian all rounders after that. Came up with Lala Amarnath, Kapil Dev, Vinoo Mankad, Polly Umrigar,Ravi Shastri as possibly sure entrants into the list. And then - Chandu Borde, Bapu Nadkarni, Madan Lal, Roger Binny, Eknath Solkar, Rusi Surti, M L Jaisimha, ...maybe Harbhajan Singh, the way he has batted very recently! But all very iffy.

    Who all have I missed?

    Cad

  • Zeeshan on April 2, 2009, 6:55 GMT

    although he is a refreshing addition to looming west indies side, but he didnt look gentle while being "over" for missed chances, appeals etc anyway better to have him

  • biny on April 2, 2009, 7:55 GMT

    You may add Salim Durrani and Manoj Prabhakar who were genuine all rounders for India

  • Woody Venkat on April 2, 2009, 8:32 GMT

    Roger Harper must be considered an allrounder of sorts he had first class 200's if im not mistaken. Sure at TEST and ODI level his stats don't stack up. Never the less an all-rounder. I thought Hendy Bryan had potential i don't know where hes gone must be old by now.

  • lakesidey on April 2, 2009, 8:48 GMT

    "Under the indolent leadership of the somnambulistic Gayle" - isn't that a trifle harsh on the poor man? I thought he was doing a rather good job :) I agree with much of what you say though....looking forward to seeing what Bravo can do in the year(s) ahead.

  • Suhas on April 2, 2009, 9:01 GMT

    How about Keith Boyce? He and Julien would probably be in the same bracket. And wasn't Collie Smith, the man who died in a car accident which involved Sobers, supposed to be an allrounder of some repute himself? And there's the 'rebel' Franklyn Stephenson, who played in South Africa. Sobers notwithstanding, he was probably the all-round great the Windies never had.

    Re HL Cadambi: You missed Manoj Prabhakar. Perhaps Dattu Phadkar and Karsan Ghavri might also ake the list? And there's Salim Durrani too.

  • Martin Vengadesan on April 2, 2009, 9:23 GMT

    Decent article ... as a huge Windies fan, have often thought about why the team that gave the game the greatest allrounder of them all in Sobers has generally been deficit in this department. In 26 years of following the game, Bravo has definitely come closest to fitting the allrounder role and it's great to see him back.

    I agree with Cad that there are some glaring omissions though ... most criminal of which is O'Neil "Collie" Smith (whose tragic death at age 26 curtailled a potentially glorious career) ... others include sporadically brilliant talents like Keith Boyce, Franklyn Stephenson and the afore-mentioned Bernard Julien, or the more sedate pair of Denis Atkinson and John Goddard.

  • Geoff on April 2, 2009, 14:03 GMT

    Brovo Dawyne, while Bravo is good for WI cricket it is also good for world cricket in terms of excitement. Good article by my favorite writer, Mike. In response to Biny please give a feed back on Bravo and WI allrounders since the article was centered on Bravo and WI allrounders and not Durani and Prabakar, leave comments for Indian cricket and their cricketers for a separate article. Biny the article is centered around Brave and WI so give your comments to Mike about the article at hand

  • RSingh on April 2, 2009, 15:08 GMT

    Good article with some knowledgable comments. Joe Solomon and Keith Arthurton were considered all-rounders on their respective teams.

  • cricket fan on April 2, 2009, 16:14 GMT

    The article was about Bravo and windies allrounders and not how many any other country might or might not have produce, However, apart from australia the windies is the only other team at this point in time that can genuinely claim to have ever dominated WORLD CRICKET. Therefore, at the end of the day,it doesn't matter if Bravo was only the second allrounder in 100 years. Bravo to him!