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News

Experience gives Pollard's Knight Riders the edge, Bravo expects Patriots to build on recent gains

Pollard reiterates demand for another T20 tournament, in addition to the CPL, to "unearth new talent" for West Indies

Deivarayan Muthu
31-Aug-2022
Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine celebrate, Guyana Amazon Warriors vs Trinbago Knight Riders, CPL 2021, Basseterre, September 1, 2021

Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine have been inspirational for Trinbago Knight Riders  •  Randy Brooks - CPL T20 / Getty

With Andre Russell joining Trinbago Knight Riders and Nicholas Pooran returning to the line-up, they are dripping with experience and pedigree. With captain Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Colin Munro also in the mix, Knight Riders can stake a claim for being the strongest T20 franchise side in the world. Pollard, though, refused to be drawn into comparisons with other T20 teams on the circuit, and pointed out that big names alone can't guarantee success.
"Yes, I've played for a lot of teams with a lot of great players, but obviously, when you look at the team on paper, we have world-class players and a lot of guys who have played around the world," Pollard said. "Again, to say the strongest and go down that route, I don't think we are looking at that.
"We are looking at what we can achieve as a team and what we can do on the field as individuals, inclusive of what the team requires, and hopefully, with the experience of everyone, we can bind that together and show some sort of results when the time comes."
For the second time in less than a year, Pollard has called for a regional T20 tournament in addition to the CPL for identifying fresh talent. After West Indies had suffered an early exit in the 2021 T20 World Cup, Pollard had said that a domestic T20 tournament would help expand their talent pool.
"I've been advocating it. I've said it after the last World Cup campaign as well. That is how a lot of cricketers have been unearthed in the Caribbean - through the local tournaments," he said. "There is the CPL, which is great for the Caribbean players and great for the viewership as well and great for everybody, but in terms of the development - five overseas players coming and four can play at a time, which leaves seven locals. I don't think that is enough to see the emerging talent. But, at the end of the day, the franchise owners and sponsors are putting in a lot of money to see good cricket. I don't think they are just looking at development; they're looking to be known on the global scene.
"So, I've said [it before] and I'm going to say it again, yes, I think we need another tournament so we can continue to bridge the gap of getting our players through. 6ixty was a good start, but it's only ten-over cricket, so guys have to go from ball one. We want to unearth new talent not only for T20 cricket, but for 50 overs and Test cricket as well, so that we can have longevity in the sport and compete at the highest level on a consistent basis."
Bravo: 'We can also be a dominant force in the CPL'
After winning CPL 2021 and the inaugural men's 6ixty, St Kitts & Nevis Patriots have now set their sights on defending their CPL title to do a three-peat and establish themselves as a dominant force in the region, their captain Dwayne Bravo said.
"Yeah, I'm very excited. Last season I made the decision to leave TKR and try to challenge myself in a different way to keep myself motivated for the game and try and help others develop their game and their cricket," Bravo said. "I think I made the right decision at the right time and luckily enough, we won the trophy last season, which gave St Kitts & Nevis Patriots their first-ever CPL title. Three days ago, we also won the first ever Universe Boss Trophy.
"It's a good foundation that we started to build, and we started to believe, as a franchise and as a team, that we can also be a dominant force in the CPL and that's our challenge. That's our aim and we're looking forward to defending our title. Not only that, but we also look forward to playing a brand of cricket that entertains fans and makes our franchise owners and the island of St Kitts & Nevis Patriots proud."
Dominic Drakes, who has been Bravo's project since last season, has grown in leaps and bounds as a T20 allrounder. Bravo is eager to give him the platform to take his game to the next level in the forthcoming CPL and also create a team environment that allows the other players to thrive.
"I'm very impressed with him [Drakes] and very happy with his development in the last 12-18 months. It's my responsibility to make sure that he doesn't fall back and keep pushing him and encouraging him," Bravo said. "Not only Dominic, but so many other players who are involved this season - I want to see Sherfane Rutherford be dominant again. I want to see Evin Lewis follow up from his last season - he was our best player with the bat. Young [Dewald] Brevis… want to calm him down a bit because he has so much talent but sometimes, I think, can be reckless.
"Looking forward to seeing my brother [Darren Bravo] get back into some good form - it's a move for him from TKR as well. I think that change might do well for his cricket and for his career."
Bravo also revealed how he played a role in bringing South Africa allrounder Dwaine Pretorius into the CPL after the IPL, where they played together for Chennai Super Kings earlier this year. Pretorius has a collection of slower balls in his repertoire and often fronts up to bowl the tough overs. Does Bravo see a bit of himself in Pretorius?
"Yeah, when I was there in the IPL with him, I asked him if he would be interested in playing CPL and he said 'yes'. And so straightaway I made a phone call and talked to the owners and got on to his agent and now happy to have him here," Bravo said. "I'm looking forward to his season because he's someone very experienced and he's very eager to learn and obviously, he has international experience, so it's a good combination to have someone like him who has the experience and is still willing to learn."

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo