Dwayne Bravo backs T&T youngsters
Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies allrounder, has said he hopes the absence of himself and hard-hitting batsman Kieron Pollard from the Trinidad & Tobago squad for the 2011 Caribbean T20 event will give young players a chance to take up the mantle for the regional side.
Bravo and Pollard have both opted to play in Australia's Twenty20 Big Bash, which will be played from December 30 to January 5, and will miss their domestic tournament that will be held in Antigua and Barbados from January 10 to 23. Bravo signed for Victoria, while Pollard will play for South Australia.
"The decision not to play for T&T was a tough one, as we remain committed to T&T's cricket," Bravo told CMC Sports. "However, with Pollard and myself not being there, I hope two young players can step up to the plate and make a name for themselves."
Bravo and Pollard are the most experienced players in the T&T squad, and were key in their successful run in 2008 and 2009, when they won the now defunct Stanford 20/20 and then reached the final of the 2009 Champions League Twenty20.
The pair's decision to skip the domestic event had raised concerns over their commitment to West Indies cricket, but Bravo said they had been encouraged by the support from the T&T Cricket Board. "We felt a lot better by the fact that we got the support of the board and we wish T&T all the best in the tournament. I will be following the exploits of the team very closely from Australia and will be in touch with the team giving my support."
In September, T&T team manager Colin Borde said he believed Bravo and Pollard were both still committed to West Indies cricket, despite their decision not to sign national contracts with the WICB. Bravo's decision not to sign a contract means he does not have to make himself available to play for West Indies all the time and can play in tournaments such as the Big Bash and the IPL. Bravo and Pollard were both given no-objection certificates to play in the Big Bash by the WICB, however they do run the risk of not being selected to play for West Indies in Twenty20 internationals if the board follows up on their rule of participation in regional competitions being mandatory for national selection in the corresponding format of the game.
Bravo pointed out the CT20 was an important tournament for T&T as they had failed to win any trophies in the last year. "I see no reason why T&T cannot go on and win the tournament and make up for the disappointment of the 2010 season. We really did not have a good season and the guys should keep this in mind and got out there and play their hearts out."