ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
World Cup 2011
Darren Bravo wants to make a name for himself
Sharda Ugra in Delhi
February 19, 2011
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.