Bravo disappointed with continued Test exclusion
Dwayne Bravo believes the West Indies selectors have "got it wrong" by excluding him from the Test side over the past few years. The all-rounder's last Test appearance came in December 2010 in Sri Lanka and he said that it had been "disheartening" and "disappointing" watching from the outside.
"To be honest I was very disappointed that I was not able to make the Test squad within that time [since 2010]," Bravo told Line and Length. "In the little time I've played Test cricket, I think I've done good enough to still at least be part of West Indies' Test attack.
"From the selectors down to the coach as well, every day I see them, I abuse them," Bravo joked. "I keep asking what it is I have to do again to be selected. Obviously, they can't really give a proper answer so it always finishes off with a small laugh. Nothing really serious comes out of it."
Bravo, the West Indies ODI captain, is currently in London undergoing rehab following a shoulder injury in Chennai Super Kings' first IPL match that ruled him out of the ongoing T20 league. He said that the "hunger is always there" and that he had always showed a desire to continue playing Test cricket despite his many T20 obligations globally in the past couple of years. Bravo said he was optimistic he could be recalled for the three-Test home series against New Zealand starting June 8 given his recent form. In his 40 Tests, Bravo has made 2200 runs at an average of 31.42 and taken 86 wickets at 39.83.
With the Pybus report under scrutiny to help revamp West Indies' Test status by ensuring the first-choice players are present in the domestic cricket season, attention has been drawn as to how dedicated some Caribbean players are to Tests and how receptive they would be to Pybus' recommendation.
Chris Gayle undertook a Test hiatus in 2012 after a dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board that lasted 18 months. Following West Indies' semi-final exit at the World T20, Gayle, who was nursing a glute injury, Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine and Bravo all failed to play a single match in the Regional Four Day tournament. Kieron Pollard played two round-robin games before leaving to link up with Mumbai Indians as Trinidad & Tobago went on to lose in the semi-final. Marlon Samuels, Andre Russell and Denesh Ramdin have played only one match each in the domestic season.
Sammy, the Test captain, had bemoaned the team's away performances against India and New Zealand late last year and said "we cannot continue like this". Bravo said it was tough coping with West Indies' recent Test performances but added that the last time New Zealand visited the Caribbean, the West Indies topped them. "Losing Test matches within three days is something no Test nation would really like to see," Bravo said. "As a West Indian player to see that happening and know that I'm not able to actually contribute or be a part of it is really disheartening. But I think we will be a very difficult team to beat at home if we get the right combination and right players selected."
Given the nature of the Caribbean pitches, "quality spin" would be West Indies' trump card against New Zealand, Bravo said, and added that using Sulieman Benn or Shane Shillingford to partner Sunil Narine would be most effective.
Bravo also said that he hoped to see younger brother Darren recouping his international form. Darren Bravo had left the New Zealand tour during the ODIs due to personal reasons but was part of T&T's regional campaign. "We all know that he's one of our more talented batsmen," Dwayne Bravo said. "He's been going through a tough time mentally and had some family and personal issue to take care of. He just needs positivity, encouragement and support. We all go through this as players."
Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. @RenaldoMatadeen