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T20 World Cup: I'm very grateful to represent West Indies for so long, says Bravo

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Abu Dhabi, Nov 6 (IANS) Retiring West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo said that he was very grateful to get a chance to represent the West Indies for a long period of time. He added that he was lucky to play this game for 18 years. Though Bravo didn’t sign off from international cricket on a winning note as West Indies lost to Australia by eight wickets in their last match of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, he can look back at his glittering career with pride, including being a part of the winning teams of the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy followed by two Men’s T20 World Cup titles in 2012 and 2016.

“Being around the international circuit to represent my country for, let’s say, 18 years, I’m very grateful to represent the West Indies for so long. There are some strong friendships with great people and some great players, and I’m very lucky to be playing this game,” said Bravo in the post-match press conference.

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Bravo confirmed that he will continue to ply his trade in franchise cricket and added that his international career could have ended earlier if not for a change in the administration. “I will continue playing franchise cricket for a few more years as long as my body will allow me to. My aim was to retire a few years ago, but with a change of presidency and change of leadership comes a change of heart, and I wanted to give back to West Indies because I was still in a good place physically and enjoy my cricket.”

“I had a brief chat with Pollard and said, (I) ‘would I like to come back and play in the shortest format, which is my specialty. And they gave me the opportunity to play again, and I’m very grateful for that. Obviously, one year was hampered by the pandemic which none of us had control over but I commit myself to play for another two years for West Indies and obviously, one was spoiled by the pandemic.”

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Bravo felt that the timing of him walking away from international cricket is perfect for the next generation to do well for the West Indies. “So, I think this was the right moment for me to walk away from the game, and allow the next generation and young players with who I share a very good friendship to come through. They still see me around but more passing information around as policy and trying to give my experience back to the next group of players, and hopefully they can also have a 12 to 18-year career as well.”

Speaking on his memorable moments from his international career, Bravo recounted some of them. “I have a few. Obviously getting my Test cap at Lord’s, walking on the field for the first time. That was a special moment. Obviously, my childhood hero, (Brian) Lara, was the captain. That was very special. Winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2004 was another specialty moment for me. My first Test against South Africa, another special moment. And obviously, the two T20 World Cups were a special moment for me. It was good that I was able to have some success throughout my career.”

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Bravo was quick to thank the people who saw and helped him become a world-class cricketer. “I’m going to say thanks to Charles (Guillen). I think he saw my talent at the age of six, and who knows, I don’t know where I would have been if it wasn’t for Charles spotting me in Santa Cruz playing amongst my friends on a tennis court and giving me the opportunity to join the best cricket club in the country which is Queens Park Cricket Club. So, at an early age, I had my foundation and discipline built into me and the love for the game was always there. Charles, wherever you are, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart and on by half of my family as well.”

“There’s a lot of people that have played a big part in my career. Growing up, obviously, Lara, my childhood mentor, Richard Smith, my first captain for the international team, and the Borde brothers, Colin and Jerome Borde. These people play a big part in my upbringing as a player, and instilled early discipline, and get me to understand the importance of playing the game hard and fair, with passion, with a lot of pride. And as a kid, that is all I wanted to do is play cricket and I’m very grateful that I was able to fulfill my childhood dream.”

The 38-year-old signed off by saying that he has no clue of Chris Gayle’s international future, who waved the bat and got hugs from his team-mated after being dismissed for 9. “He said half of it. He halfway retires. He still has some cricket left. I’m not sure what he’s decided yet.”

–IANS

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