West Indies in India 2011-12 November 5, 2011

Brathwaite plans to take his time

Kraigg Brathwaite, the 18-year-old West Indies opener, has his heart set on playing plenty of Test cricket first, and maybe Twenty20 later

One expects an 18-year-old who wears a trendy white watch, is nicknamed BoBo, and shuttles between age-group and international cricket to have a flashy personality, to try and draw attention with words if not deeds. When you begin to talk to Kraigg Brathwaite, the West Indies opener, though, the measured words he uses to state his ambitions make it clear he is not that sort.

"I want to play at least a hundred Tests," Brathwaite told ESPNcricinfo. "I enjoy being at the crease because once I'm out there, that's where the runs are scored. I know that if I stay long, bad balls will come and I can capitalise on them. The best feeling is to get a hundred."

Brathwaite is part of the West Indies squad that will play three Tests in India, and could find himself opening the innings in the first Test, which starts on Sunday in Delhi. He arrives on the back of West Indies' successful tour of Bangladesh, where he made his maiden Test fifty in the Dhaka Test. It took him a shade over two hours to make exactly 50, but at no point did he look stressed.

In match game, the gameplan, to take his time and build an opening partnership with fellow newcomer Kieran Powell, was right up Brathwaite's alley. The pair added 100 before Brathwaite guided the ball into first slip's lap shortly after lunch. The innings, as well as the opening stand, demoralised Bangladesh and set up West Indies for a successful five days. Brathwaite was run out for a duck in the second innings, but his half-century had already that made everyone sit up and take notice.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the man Brathwaite has looked up to and wants to emulate. A highly unlikely choice for a young player, but in this case, it makes sense. On the fourth day in Chittagong, Chanderpaul came out attacking, hitting the left-arm spinners over their head and taking charge. His and Brathwaite's 62-run fourth-wicket stand took the visitors out of real trouble after they had slipped to 57 for 3. In the course of the stand, Brathwaite showed he could do what Chanderpaul has been doing for years - stay steadfast.

It is a method that was set in place several years ago when he began playing in age-group competitions. "I used to look for boundaries when I was playing U-13,] but by the next two years I started to buckle down. I took advice from my coach and my father. I started batting long and occupying the crease. Obviously I want to play T20 cricket in the future, but right now I'm concentrating on scoring runs in Test cricket.

"As I get older, the forearms will get stronger, in a couple of years maybe. But I want to see myself getting settled in Test cricket first."

Brathwaite suggested that it was his father's coaching that has led to his cautious approach. "We started playing three-day cricket in Under-15s. They used to get cross as I didn't want to get out. I started scoring hundreds from that time. I think that's when I got it, from my father. He used to say, 'Take your time man, take your time.'"

He made his Test debut at home against Pakistan earlier this year (making him the fifth-youngest to play Test cricket for West Indies) before facing Bangladesh, but India stands to be his sternest challenge yet. Luckily for Brathwaite, he has some experience of the conditions, having made two centuries in an Under-19 one-day tournament held in Vishakapatnam, in which he led the West Indies to a third-place finish. By blunting the threat of Shakib Al Hasan, Brathwaite has also shown he has the skills to handle top-class spin.

His step up to international cricket may seem a bit rushed, but he doesn't agree it has been. "I won't say the transition was too quick. I'm ready. In terms of concentration, it is the same, but obviously the bowlers here are more consistent. Once you are positive, it should be all right."

Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • VivGilchrist on November 8, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Let's no get carried away here. It's one thing to occupy the crease, it's another to score runs. Yes, a batsman can buckle down in Test cricket, but runs on the board puts pressure on the fielding team. Kraiggs approach in this Test, particularly his 41 ball 2, actually put the pressure back on WI. He should take a leaf out of Shiv, Sehwags, and Sammys book, that on a pitch like this eventually a ball is going to get you, so might as well try to get some runs first.

  • dummy4fb on November 7, 2011, 23:35 GMT

    big up Kraigg from home in Bim........we know what u r capable of just keep doing your thing...........the runs will come

  • Meety on November 7, 2011, 1:15 GMT

    This kid needs to room with Chanderpaul, eat, drink, sleep, train & talk all tour long with Chanders.

  • Silloh on November 6, 2011, 23:41 GMT

    Well done Brathwaite ! Exellent to see that you strived to play each ball on its merit and was obviously listening carefully to Shiv's advice. Continue to have patience and everything will fall in to play with very hard work and sheer diligence , not forgetting your fitness. We have some good youngsters with huge potential which need to be converted into reality and you at 18 are certainly one . Keep a steady head and one foot on the ground,and use the technology to review your mistakes and appropriately address .

  • miller23 on November 6, 2011, 23:03 GMT

    well played westindies, young brathwaite played well in the first inngs and he is the future for westindies cricket and what can you say about shiv chanderpaul the right man for a crises and he also delevered when the westindies needed him all in all a good day for westindies cricket

  • dummy4fb on November 6, 2011, 21:46 GMT

    He's the kind of top order batsman the West Indies need - a calm, steady hand who won't throw his wicket away. Good luck to him, I hope he gets a good, long run.

  • dummy4fb on November 6, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    I got out of my bed early this morning to watch the West Indies commence their tour of India. I was very happy to see the solid and compact Brathwaite. He seems quite a player for the future of WI cricket. Yes is is not the power house at hitting the ball but most of all he recognises that and is playing within his limitations. I thought Powell looked good too but lost his wicket by getting nervous following the drop catch. He had the right approach next time Powell use your feet and beat the ball again dont cower and give in. By the way those who are talking captaincy for Brathwaite I ask kindly that you allow the youngster his time to properly wet his feet at the senior international level and not seek to derail him now with captaincy thoughts. PLEASE STOP IT.

    I am a big Darren Bravo fan but i was ashamed by the way he gave his prized wicket to Ashwin. That was Christmas in November for Ashwin Do not do it again Bravo and know that you owe me second innings runs.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 6, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    So brathwaite played as he said he would. I'm very happy for him. It would have been nicer if he got to three figures. Well played Brathwaite in the company of your Legendary Idol. Windies opening slot seems to be in safe hands for years to come. And finally, Shiv doesn't need any introductions. Does he? Take a bow to THE eternal thorn in India's flesh. That's how you decimate spinners on the challenging spin friendly tracks of India. Though I wanted him to get dismissed cheaply as an Indian, as a fan of test cricket I thoroughly enjoyed this super-fine innings from The Legend Shiv. What a master of context, home or away.

  • dummy4fb on November 6, 2011, 10:12 GMT

    This guy has a good technique and an attitude to stay at the crease for long periods.But has to rotate the strike a bit more.Did well today at the Kotla against our 2nd string attack.Just could have got 80 or 90 from the 196 balls he faced instead of his final score of 61.Hope he and Barath make a good opening pair for Windies in years to come.

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on November 6, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    @RandyOz- Being a Aussie i f you a say vvs never performs when it counts, then I can only LOL :p

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