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March 19, 2014
Dwayne Bravo wants to bat higher in West Indies' order as they aim to defend their World T20 title with Sunday's opener against India looming. Bravo, who hit 43 off 31 balls in the warm-up win over Sri Lanka, believes that a move up will allow him his desired role as the fulcrum of the West Indies' middle-order.
"In this format of the game, I always fancy myself batting higher and as early as possible to give myself that extra time to get set and take the game right down to the end [of the innings]," he said. "Obviously, we have a lot of power-hitters in our line-up but my role is to hold the middle and help us lay a good foundation."
Bravo pointed to Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell as the batsmen he would be able to take on the responsibility of big-hitting as he felt his best role was as a "stabiliser" in the team. He praised the openers, Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith, for relieving the pressure off the middle-order and thinks they will be a key duo, particularly by allowing him to bat freely in the crease.
However, Bravo added that all the batsmen were high on confidence after series win at home against England, followed by warm-up wins against England and Sri Lanka in Bangladesh, and thinks that his team have already adjusted to the World T20 conditions.
"It's good to win these practice games and we're looking forward to Sunday [against India]. We left the Caribbean after winning the series against England with good momentum and after these warm-ups, we feel confident and reassured as these are the conditions we'll be playing the big games in. We expect the conditions to be good for batting. It's a bit on the slower side so try not to be predictable as a bowler.
Bravo also said that while focus would be placed on their spin bowlers, one player who would be a huge asset would be left-arm seamer Krishmar Santokie for his variations, swing and slower-balls. Bravo believed that Santokie, coupled with Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine, was one of their most formidable T20 bowling attacks to date.
West Indies, though, are aware of the dangers of becoming complacent but added that their experience in T20 cricket would counter this, especially as the core of the 2012 title-winning squad was still intact.
"Compared to the last World Cup, this one is harder as it is fewer games and we are in a tough group," he said. "We still have most of our players [from 2012] and we're not going to get ahead of ourselves. But we're playing good cricket and once we continue to show this form, we'll fancy our chances to defend the title. It might be the last World Cup for some of us in this format of the game."
Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets hereFeeds: Renaldo Matadeen
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