Dwayne Bravo, one of cricket’s great survivors, deserves to be remembered as a West Indies legend
Dwayne Bravo’s farewell from the international game didn’t turn out the way he would’ve wanted but his is an international career to be cherished and marvelled at.
In a do-or-die encounter for the West Indies, the Bangladesh batters employed the tactic of moving across their stumps to force the opposition bowlers to change their lines. It seemed to work, as the West Indies pacers tried to bowl towards the leg-stump, and ended up conceding boundaries and wides.
Enter Bravo. In the 17th over, he kept bowling wide on the off-side and the batters weren’t quite able to reach the ball. Because of their movement those deliveries couldn’t be called as wide either. Only three runs were conceded in that over. The Men in Maroon ended up winning that close encounter by that exact margin.
At 38, Bravo isn’t the same player that he used to be. It was seen in the T20 World Cup where he picked up two wickets at an average of 68.5. But the aforementioned example showed how the wily operator could serve his side well even when his powers were on decline. Another example of the same was the recent IPL, where he picked 14 wickets in CSK’s successful campaign.
While he couldn’t help his side to glory in his final go in this occasion, he will be remembered for much more.
On the face of it, his Test record doesn’t look that special. An average of 31.42 with the bat, and 39.83 with the ball doesn’t hold up against the best all-rounders of his era.
However, the talent was always there. He once ran through the legendary Australian batting line-up with his 6-84 at the Adelaide Oval. His 19 Test wickets at an average of 27.36 in Australia is better than a certain Andrew Flintoff’s 18 wickets at 32.66. In ODI cricket he amassed 199 wickets and 2,968 runs, though it also remained a slightly unfulfilled career given his talent.
Had he been born a decade earlier, Bravo might’ve been seen as one of the great ‘what ifs’ of West Indies cricket. But the age of T20 came to his rescue. It was in the global leagues where the Trinidad all-rounder was able to express himself the best.
He has 553 wickets at a strike-rate of 17.8 in T20 cricket. This makes him the highest wicket-taker in the format by a margin. His style of bowling became especially useful during the death overs, where he could use a variety of slower balls and cutters, along with varying of line and length to outfox the batters. He has 283 wickets in death overs, 107 more than the second best Lasith Malinga. There is also the not inconsiderable presence of two World T20 medals in his trophy cabinet, where he played a crucial role in West Indies establishing themselves as the first great international T20 side.
He might not have become the modern-day Garry Sobers, but Bravo was special in his own way. A useful all-rounder to his team in the Noughties, and a T20 superstar from thereon; he will remain an inspiration for players from the region and across the globe. And let’s hold the tributes here, the man plans to play T20 leagues for the foreseeable future.
On many occasions, the best of Bravo did not come in the maroon shirt, but his legacy as a player from the West Indies is undoubtable.
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