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The Journey of Champion Dwayne Bravo

Chennai Super Kings management declaring Dwayne Bravo fit for the IPL team’s next fixture has been a huge relief for the fans, who have seen their beloved side starting the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 season on not a very happy note.

With CSK struggling to finish off things in the late overs, the availability of the all-rounder will certainly start changing things for the better. Having played over 130 matches in IPL so far, Champion Dwayne Bravo boasts of 1483 runs and 147 wickets – which easily makes him the best all-rounder in the tournament.

However, IPL isn’t the only T20 league that Bravo has taken by storm. Such has been his T20 acumen with both bat and ball that he has been in demand in Pakistan Super League with Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Zalmi, in Big Bash League with Melbourne Renegades and Sydney Sixers, in Bangladesh Premier League with Chittagong Kings and many other leagues.

 

ADMIRING BRIAN LARA

Cricket wasn’t Dwayne Bravo’s only interest in childhood though. Having grown in Santacruz, Bravo was obviously fond of the Trinidad and Tobago cricket team but his interests reached out to football and beach cricket equally. Having an unparalleled athleticism made it easier for him to excel in most sports.

However, it was Bravo’s admiration for West Indies cricket legend Brian Lara that pushed him to pick up the bat more frequently. When Dwayne Bravo started his cricketing career, Brain Lara – whose mother is the sister of Darren Bravo‘s grandfather – spoke highly of him, stating his potential to be the next star of West Indian cricket. Dwayne and Darren were half-brothers and would later on go to represent the country.

 

EN ROUTE TO A BIG BREAK

Bravo’s first major break was getting selected in the U-15 side of the Queen’s Park Cricket Club, where the opening batsman tried his hands in bowling as well. It was a wise decision because after Bravo’s forgettable stint at the 2002 ICC U-19 World Cup, his all-round abilities kept him relevant.

After an uneventful 2002, Bravo’s first real spark on the senior cricketing circuit came in 2003, when his century and an 11/6 bowling figure against Windwards Islands threw him under the eyes of the national selectors.

 

TERRIFIC TEST TALENT WHO RETIRED EARLY

In his ODI debut against England in 2004, Dwayne Bravo would pick two wickets before helping West Indies seal a crunching victory with a 6 balls 12 runs innings. He was soon a regular in the national team and managed to make the prestigious Test debut three months later. Bravo would then go on to perform exceedingly well in the Test series against England.

A special mention remains of Bravo’s innings against Australia in the Hobart Test, 2005, where the all-rounder had hit a magnificent ton against Australia’s all-conquering bowling side consisting of Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Brett Lee and Stuart MacGill. His innings of 113 helped West Indies avoid an innings defeat.

He would go on to play 40 Test matches for the national side, scoring 2200 hundred runs and taking 86 wickets. However, Bravo forayed into the limited-overs cricket that suited his strength greatly. Eventually, he announced his retirement from Test cricket in 2015.

 

BRAVO HAS WON IT ALL

While Champion Dwayne Bravo remained a regular in West Indies’ ODI side for long, it was his impact in the T20 format that had impressed all. Debuting in the shortest cricketing format in 2006 against New Zealand, Bravo had taken two wickets and scored a crucial 19-run knock to tie a crunch match.

Bravo’s significant contributions in T20 cricket led Mumbai Indians, known to have a great vision for spotting T20  talents, to pick Dwayne Bravo in the inaugural Indian Premier League edition in 2008. The tournament remained a massive success with Bravo now overcoming the niggles that had slowed his career down.

Bravo’s brilliant campaign in the 2009 ICC T20 World Cup, where he scored 154 runs and took 10 wickets, saw the all-rounder using his holistic skills. While he played as a back-up seamer successfully with his mix of yorkers, slower balls and slow bouncers, he filled Gayle’s underperformances with useful contributions in the middle-order. Bravo was even named in Cricinfo’s ‘Team of the Tournament’.

Bravo would go onto win the 2012 ICC T20 World Cup and the 2016 ICC T20 World Cup with West Indies, thus cementing his name in the all-time T20 greats. He has also lifted the Indian Premier League title with Chennai Super Kings in 2011 and 2018 and the Pakistan Super League with Quetta Gladiators in 2019.

Though a 36-year-old Bravo has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in October 2018, he continues to be in huge demand in T20 franchise cricket across the world. Fans are expected to see him donning the West Indies jersey once again at the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup.

Read: SBOTOP brings in Dwayne Bravo as new brand ambassador

 

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