Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies allrounder, will be joining the Mumbai Indians squad to replace the injured Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga.
Lalchand Rajput, Mumbai's coach, confirmed that Bravo was the unanimous choice of the "few" names discussed by the team think-tank. "The decision to pick Bravo was a collective decision," he told Cricinfo.
Malinga, recovering from a knee injury that he picked during the CB Series in Australia, and, had to miss the Caribbean tour but was confident last week he would be fit to join the Mumbai squad. But Rajput said "we got a report that his recovery might take a further two to three weeks. So we decided to have a back-up".
Charl Langeveldt, the South African pace bowler was amongst the names discussed but Bravo nosed ahead by virtue of being an allrounder. "We wanted an allrounder and not another regular bowler", Rajput said of the outcome of the team meeting that took place on Thursday. Bravo will be the fourth West Indies player to feature in the IPL joining Shivnaraine Chanderpaul, Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan.
Bravo would only be available for short period before he returns home for the Australia series but the Mumbai team management felt they could extract the most out of him before he heads back. Bravo will also miss Mumbai's opening game against the Bangalore Royal Challengers at home as he arrives only on Sunday but will get to be part of seven of their 14 league matches before he heads back home on May 14. "We know he would be returning on May 15 but by then we would have played most of our games."
While confirming the signing, Reliance, owners of the Mumbai team, did not disclose the price they had offered him. A sum in the range of US $200-250,000 wouldn't be amiss considering his international record. Bravo may not have a good Twenty20 record - he averages 11 in seven Twenty20 games and has just two wickets at 55 - but he could light up the show like he did in the first game of the ODI series against Sri Lanka recently, grabbing four wickets and playing a handy cameo as an opener.
Bravo's late call-up means that he misses out on Trinidad & Tobago's Carib Beer Challenge match against Jamaica, starting on April 24. The development was confirmed by Trinidad's manager, Colin Borde, who said the experience of playing in the IPL would be beneficial for Bravo.
"I think everybody is excited for him going up to the IPL and playing with Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, [and] Shaun Pollock," Borde told CCN TV6, a television station based in Port-of-Spain. "I think it's good for him and as a Trinidadian you must feel proud ... he's the first guy to get in the IPL."