Brathwaite lets go of pressure of expectation
Carlos Brathwaite. Remember the name?
By the time West Indies' upcoming T20I series against Pakistan is done, it will be a year since that evening in Kolkata, when Brathwaite slammed four sixes in the final over to snatch the World T20 title from England. Since then he has been named T20I captain, and the expectations have hardly died down. Brathwaite said he had learnt how to deal with that pressure.
"Family and friends have been sticking close, but the pressure has increased from outside. But it's just a matter of understanding it won't happen every day," Brathwaite said, on the eve of the first of four T20Is against Pakistan. "You'll fail more times than you perform, I think I've come to grips with that. I've begun to level my own expectations, which probably were more than the expectations of others."
Pakistan's tour of West Indies, which has three ODIs and three Tests after the T20Is, begins less than six months since the two teams met in the UAE. In that series, West Indies were swept 6-0 in the limited-overs formats, and could not put together a win till the final game on tour, a dead-rubber Test in Sharjah. But Twenty20 is West Indies' best format, and Brathwaite is confident they have the right combination of youth and experience to challenge Pakistan in home conditions.
"Not having Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and still being able to put together the team we've selected is massive for any international team. One thing we've always been able to boast of is power hitters, and we have four or five one after the other. And we have that perfect mix of experience and youth as well.
"We have Rovman Powell; Jonathan Carter just came into the fold … Then there's the elder statesmen, though he's only 28 , Kieron Pollard, he's a T20 veteran. We have Marlon Samuels and Lendl Simmons, who've been touring all over the world and playing with success. So take that blend of youth and experience and as well as powerful hitters coming on at the backend of the T20 innings, capitalising on the last 10 overs anywhere in the world against any team in the world [and you know we can challenge any team]."
One thing he is counting on, Brathwaite said, is having some of his players offer inside information on the Pakistan team, after their time at the Pakistan Super League; Pollard, Samuels, Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree featured in the PSL, which ended earlier this month.
"In the series in the UAE, Imad Wasim obviously had some homework done, because he played in the Caribbean Premier League," Brathwaite said. "So hopefully our guys can bring back their homework and assess their learnings in PSL, and use it hopefully as well as Imad did against us in the UAE. We'll see if it translates onto the field."