Bravo has a shirt for every over

Dwayne Bravo adds to his collection of T20 shirts Getty Images

When Dwayne Bravo finally calls time on his roving career as a Twenty20 specialist he can always open a cricket shirt museum. ESPNcricinfo recorded in April that he had played for 18 different T20 sides and since then he has added Winnipeg Hawks and Middlesex to stretch the list to 20.

Maybe somebody needs to explain to him that T20 refers to the number of overs, not the number of teams.

At one point it appeared that Bravo might be trying to pull off the impossible feat of representing two teams at the same time, appearing alongside his half-brother Darren for Winnipeg in the inaugural match in the Canada T20 league before flying to England to don the Middlesex kit only two days later.

Bravo's death bowling skills were much in evidence when Middlesex (his fourth English county) beat Surrey in the Lord's opener, but he had less success when Essex beat Middlesex with a ball to spare at Chelmsford, conceding 53 in a spell which was largely bowled at the end of the innings.

Bravo is sticking around for six games in all before heading home for the Caribbean Premier League.


Dan Christian's 37-ball century meant that the Vitality Blast enjoyed an eye-catching opening night. The second-fastest hundred in T20 in England - for Notts Outlaws against Northants - was only three balls slower than Andrew Symonds' astounding effort for Kent in only the second season of the format in 2004.

Symonds, a fellow Australian, did not delay his entrance at six but opened the batting and he made such light work of a weak Middlesex attack that the match was all over by the 14th over with Symonds scoring 112 of the 147 runs off the bat.

As the graphic above relates, Christian also set new standards for a batsman coming in four wickets down in a T20. Back for a third season, and entrusted with the captaincy, he gives Notts what so few counties manage in T20 these days: a regular, integrated overseas player.

Christian's exploits overshadowed an encouraging return for Paul Coughlin, who dislocated a shoulder in the field on the England Lions tour of the West Indies in March and who belatedly made his Notts debut after moving from Durham.

Notts are convinced that Coughlin is England class and, although he won't bowl yet, two catches including a good sliding catch in the deep were a heartening sight.


Talking of records, Joe Denly's unique feat of a century and a hat-trick in the same game continued a remarkable story of how his leg spin has flowered late in his career. Not so long ago he would not have been named among the legspinners who are expected to be used by 16 of the 18 counties, but now he is an increasingly valuable component of Kent's attack. A new lease of life at 32.

But what has so far faded from the memory is that Denly took a T20 wicket with his first ball in international cricket, in Johannesburg nine years ago, as the South Africa captain, Graeme Smith, slapped him to long on.

Even with that notable scalp, bowling did not become a habit. Before Denly brought Surrey to their knees, he had bowled in only 13 of his 178 T20 matches - a sum total of 138 balls which had brought him seven wickets. Rob Key, a former Kent captain, has light-heartedly referenced on TV commentary this season how he would just laugh whenever Denly asked for a bowl, just regarding it as a batsman who was bored in the field. A stand-in captain for Sam Billings for the early part of the season, he has taken the chance to do what countless batting skippers have done over the years: brought himself on.

So far this season, to add his five hundreds across all formats, he has 23 wickets. His return to Kent for a second time for the start of the 2015 season has brought one of the most enriching periods of his career.


The inclusion of 17-year-old Jamie Smith, a Surrey Academy wicketkeeper, in Surrey's starting XI for their first two matches, has added to the exciting group of young players the county is nurturing.

The average age of Surrey's top six against Kent, their opponents on Friday night, was just 24. Their opponents, in comparison, were on average five years older.

It has not gone according to plan, however. As Surrey find themselves with two losses from two matches, their new T20 captain Jade Dernbach will no doubt be looking forward to the influx of experienced players in matches to come, not least the England opener Jason Roy.


Sometimes coaches see what they want to see. The opening week saw Ben Stokes made an unbeaten 90 for Durham on his return from a hamstring injury, but Yorkshire's coach Andrew Gale was all contentment after Yorkshire's 44-run win.

"We starved him of the strike," proclaimed Gale, a fact not immediately evident from the statistics which revealed that Stokes, who batted through the innings, faced 68 balls while the rest of Durham's side managed 52 between them.

And that despite the fact that Stokes, wary of aggravating his hamstring ahead of his planned return for England in Bristol three days later was clearly reluctant to risk too many quick singles,


Yorkshire have abandoned plans to stick to their Wednesday evening start time for the Vitality Blast contest against Derbyshire despite a clash with England's World Cup semi-final against Croatia in Moscow.

Andy Dawson, Yorkshire's commercial director, initially told The Yorkshire Post: "We're obviously a cricket club, first and foremost, and we need to think about our members who are not necessarily caught up in the football euphoria."

A video of wild celebrations in the bars on Otley Road, close to the ground, as England beat Sweden 2-0 persuaded Yorkshire - and the club's members' committee - that this time discretion might be the better form of valour. The game has been rescheduled for July 30.

Gloucestershire's televised match against Kent on Wednesday has been brought forward to 3pm. As yet there are no reports of members' uprisings in Bristol. And, if there are, it's always easier to blame TV requirements.

This piece was updated at 1015 on July 9 to register Yorkshire's change of heart