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World Cup 2011

Darren Bravo wants to make a name for himself

Sharda Ugra in Delhi

February 19, 2011

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Darren Bravo drives backward of point, Sri Lanka v West Indies, 3rd ODI, SSC, February 6, 2011
Darren Bravo's fluent batting style has drawn comparisons to Brian Lara's © Associated Press
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Players/Officials: Darren Bravo
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Teams: West Indies

As if growing up in the shadow of a very successful sibling - even if a half-brother - was not enough, Darren Bravo comes into his first World Cup with some more weights around his ankles: that of being touted as a remodelled version of the man who represented high-quality West Indian batsmanship even when the team's results were going into a tail spin.

That man is Brian Lara, who left the 2007 World Cup with possibly the most stylish farewell in cricket, by asking a question to his adoring audience, "Did I entertain?". Bravo Jr steps into the 2011 Cup with an understanding that this is now the time to seize his moment and of course, entertain. Stepping out after practice at the Indian Air Force's first-class ground at Palam, in Delhi, Bravo said the World Cup brought with it a new awareness for a young player like him. "Anywhere you pass, you can see a World Cup poster. It's always reflecting in your mind that hey, this is a really big tournament. That this is one stage where you really want to perform and make the world recognise you."

Bravo, 22, has time and opportunity to be recognised in this tournament, coming into the West Indies batting line-up just like Lara did; a left-handed No. 3. Just after his debut, his captain Chris Gayle had spoken of his resemblance to Lara, both in technique and appearance. Viv Richards has been upping the ante around him on Indian television, talking about the similarity between the two Trinidadians.

Bravo paid due deference to the comparison, and said it was an "honour and privilege" to be spoken of in the same breath as the man whose name he says like it were a single word. "Brianlara is my role model," he said, "and hopefully I can go out there and make a name for myself ... it is just my natural way of batting."

In his brief two-year international career, Bravo and his natural way of batting has done enough to keep the faith alive in the next generation of West Indian batsmen and their ability to both entertain and perhaps even control the course of matches. In the rain-drenched series in Sri Lanka just before the World Cup, Bravo's batting contained consistency as well as composure against quality spin. This is his second visit to India, after the 2009 Champions League Twenty20 as part of the T&T team.

It is the other Bravo, Dwayne, who is better known in international cricket, particularly for his prowess in the Twenty20 format, which has made him one of the world's most sought-after overseas signings for Twenty20 franchises. Junior said he was as comfortable with all formats. "I believe I'm the kind of player who can go and make the transition in all formats quite easily."

He then went on to give his audience proof. In the last domestic Twenty20 tournament in the Caribbean, Bravo said, "I was the star of the tournament. Prior to that we had a series in Sri Lanka; it was my first Test series and I did reasonably well. At the end of the day you have to make the transition and go out and bat depending on the situation of every match." No matter what they could sound like, they were not the words of a current finn-hairstyling and tattoo-wearing GenX-cricketer but belonged to another age where confidence and common sense, more often than not, shared the same space.

Bravo's relationship with his Twenty20-star sibling, who is older than him by five years, does, for the moment, not look like a cutting sibling rivalry. "Dwayne has a lot of experience, he has played in all different formats of the game, in all different parts of the world and he always gives me encouragement. He works out a game plan quite nicely and he tends to make it a bit easy for me and I really appreciate that."

Whenever the talk comes up of one versus the other, Darren says that Dwayne has a simple message, "To back my ability, to believe in myself because at the end of the day I can only do what I can do. And I can only do my best. Dwayne is always willing to giving me that 100% support and I can't ask for anything but that."

The carrot of an IPL contract does not distract Bravo at the moment because he is "taking it one step at a time, and I'm more focussed on West Indian cricket at the moment and we have the World Cup now. Sometime in the future, hopefully, I may get into the IPL, but that's in the future."

West Indies' chances at the tournament, he believed, rested on two factors. One of them was momentum. "Each team is going to play competitive cricket. It doesn't matter where you are in the rankings. Momentum will carry you through the tournament." The other, he believed, was how the team stayed together. "As long as we keep playing together, keep believing in one another, I'm sure we are going to go there and give a good account of ourselves and make people back home very proud."

The West Indies net session on Sunday will last longer than it did on Saturday, and consist of simulated match conditions of around 50 overs. The intention is to give the batsmen a chance to bat for 50 overs and for the bowlers to take on a sizeable number of overs over the course of about four hours. The replacements for the injured Adrian Barath and Carlton Baugh are expected to be in by Monday night, with the West Indies' first World Cup game, against South Africa, scheduled for February 24.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 19 
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Posted by Ricky on (February 22, 2011, 13:50 GMT)

Being a WI supporter can sometime be a difficult job, but now is not the time to divide but to rally around our guys. Yes we all have differance in opinions on who should and should not be on the squad, i myself have a few. In the end though, we need to support the guys are there now. Moving forward things are looking good for our cricket in the futue, we have a few young guys who are performing (Roach, Barath and Darren) We have a few older guys who are trying to fight there way back (Samuels, Simmons, Fidel, Taylor, Fletcher, Ramdin) we have a few young guys trying to fight there way in (Bissoon, Kirk, Thomas) and finally we have a few senior guys who need to prove themselves to stay in (Senior Bravo, Pollard, Shiv, Smith, Ravi) All good for WI cricket. My 15 for PK...(Gayle, Barath, Sarwan, Samuels, Darren, Shiv, Dwayne, Baugh \ Ramdin \ Thomas, Benn, Bissoon, Roach, Fidel, Taylor, Simmons, Nash) this is my test side, Pollard to replace shiv in the one day, and Sammy to replace Nash

Posted by Len on (February 22, 2011, 10:41 GMT)

There is no point in people comparing Darren Bravo with Lara. When Lara got a start, he went on to make a big score. In the recentTest series in Sri Lanka, Bravo got a couple of 50s and then got out. 50s do not win tests and often does not even win one day matches and if he wants to be of international class, then he has to go on and get big scores when he gets a start. My point is, WIndies cricket fans, writers and management have to PUBLICLY demand more from these players instead of settling for mediocrity, that is the only way they are going to make their way back up the international rankings.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 21, 2011, 17:46 GMT)

darren bravo is a breath of fresh air in d mediocrity of d current carribean cricket. der r a lot many others like jason holder, richard kelly, kirk edwards n mali richards who hould b given a chance to have international exposure.

Posted by Jawad A Malik on (February 21, 2011, 16:53 GMT)

Yes,He show style and look of great Brian Lara and he have ability to prove himself.His on side shots reflect Brian Lara but Leg side shots and Pull didn't match that class.I am hopeful that WI will prove in this world cup.Few players are not given chance i think they must be part of Wi's squad like Lendl Simmons,W-Hinds,Rinako Morton,and Sammules.No Need of Sammay he have no place in final 11.Unfortunate that he is leading Wi Squad.Missing Taylor and Edwards.I think they must give chance to King if he was availabale

Posted by saumitra on (February 21, 2011, 6:44 GMT)

WI is facing the might of SA in the first match itself, not so encouraging i would say, although WI has a dismal record against SA in ODI's but they have troubled SA in WC a lot, with an eliminating QF victory in 1996 and a first round victory in 2003, but every day is not sunday as they say

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 21, 2011, 1:10 GMT)

athentik, how quickly you forget that Chanderpaul has for years been the cog in the Windies batting line up. How about some loyalty? You will eat your words before the WC is out, trust me.

You are neither an 'athentik' or genuine fan... how sad.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 20, 2011, 23:11 GMT)

im west indian to the bone i like darren the can bat he look like lara in the wicket he is a good young player that have come throught all level of west indies cricket that gives me hope that our cricket can rise again samuels and fletcher should have been the replace ment long live west indies cricket rally round the west indies caribbean people we are the under dogs we wiil win the world cup

Posted by R on (February 20, 2011, 22:36 GMT)

I hope someone is teaching Chanderpaul how to bat. Especially as regards hitting the ball out of the circle, and in places other than fine leg.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 20, 2011, 13:57 GMT)

I think darren bravo knows his place on the world stage as he has opened west indian fans eyes due to his impressive and consistent performances, and i wish him continued success. I also believe the two replacements were the wrong choices but thats history now and i hope they can sieze the opportunity and perform, in other to show the fans that the boards decision to bring them in was a good one. We are all windies fans and we want our team to do well but it is only the players that can bring us that glory. From what i have seen so far based on statistics, is that the 4th team to qualify in our group after india, south africa and england would be between west indies and bangladesh and would be a good opportunity to show the deshes we are by far the better team regardless of icc rankings, but we are the west indies where talent is born and if we play to our abilities not even the host india will stop us from toping the group and winning the cup. GOOD LUCK TEAM.....

Posted by Hollis on (February 20, 2011, 10:25 GMT)

Darren Bravo has potential to be a great player as Brian Lara , but that's just it. Disappointing that he may be called upon to wicket keep in the first game and not focus entirely on his batting, but that is behind us. With Barath and Baugh out, the experienced and in form Samuels and Ramdhin I believe should have been called up to replace these guys. But that's now history. Good luck to Darren and the entire team.

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