Dwayne Bravo says it is his dream to bring back the glory days of the West Indies cricket © AFP
Dwayne Bravo says it is his dream to bring back the glory days of the West Indies cricket © AFP

 

Dwayne Bravo, the toast of Chennai after helping the reigning champions Chennai Super Kings to victory over Cape Cobras in sensational fashion on Wednesday night, talks exclusively to CricketCountry.com about his life and times in the game.

Excerpts from an interview with Navneet Mundhra: 

Q: What are your expectations from Champions League? How different it is from IPL and other T20 tournaments?

A: I’m extremely excited about Champions League and want to do all within my means to help my team retain the coveted trophy. IPL is no doubt huge, but the Champions League is tougher as it involves the best T20 teams from around the world. Winning Champions League is truly special as it signifies that you’re the ‘Champion of champions.’ 

 

Q: Chennai Super Kings are in the same group as Mumbai Indians (MI) and Trinidad & Tobago (T&T) and you’ve represented both the teams in the past. Will your experience of playing for MI & T&T come in handy when you will against them this time? You sure know a lot about the players from both the sides.

A: Well, I do know all the players of Mumbai Indians and Trinidad & Tobago inside out. And they know a lot about me as well. I would obviously chip in during the strategy session for specific players… I have many aces up my sleeve! 

 

Q: Mumbai Indians are allowed to include five overseas players in their playing XI owing to string of injuries? Do you think it’s a right move to alter the basic rules to help a side grappling with injuries? 

A: Injuries are part of the game and it’s unfortunate when a team loses their key players due to injuries. The rules are altered so that MI has a fair chance in the competition. And the rules are changed for every team, so I don’t see anything wrong with that. 

 

Q: What’s been your Indian experience till date playing the IPL and Champions League? 

A: I have loved every minute of my stay in India. India is, currently, the home of cricket and the enthusiasm for cricket here is astounding. Playing in front of hordes of cheering people gives you an impetus to lift your performance. I’ve developed a monumental fan base in India and I hope I can continue to perform well. 

 

Q: Which is your most memorable performance in international cricket, something you will remember and treasure for a long time? 

A: It’s against India in T20 World Cup 2009 at Lord’s. I racked up four wickets and then plundered 66 runs in 36 balls. The victory aided us to qualify for the semi-final. That was something significantly special for me. 

 

Q: A lot of people consider IPL and T20 phenomenon a malaise for cricket. Do you subscribe to that view point? 

A: International cricket has evolved tremendously from the time it started in 1877. I firmly believe that advent of different formats have added substantially to the cricket in making it a more intriguing and global sport.

T20 cricket has taken the world by storm and people have lapped it up gleefully. IPL has provided an opportunity to a lot of young cricketers to exhibit their wares on the international platform and make a name for themselves.

I also reckon that T20 cricket helps you to become a better Test cricketer. For example, on the last day of the Test, if a team needs to score at a rapid pace to clinch the match or if a team needs to score briskly in order to set a target & declare, T20 skills come into play. Fitness and fielding standards of the teams have also ameliorated due to T20 razzmatazz. It all boils down to the fact that how you look at it and what do you learn and imbibe from it. Having said that, I believe Test cricket is the ultimate cricket, and a true test of a cricketer’s skills and temperament. 

 

Q: You’ve been a poster boy of Twenty20 cricket, someone who has whipped out string of high-voltage performances. Wouldn’t you want to experience similar highs in Test cricket? 

A: Most definitely. I want to be remembered as one of the better all-rounders in the history of Test cricket. I have a long way to go and would have to toil diligently, but I’m upbeat about my future in Test career. I wish to emulate my T20 showing in Test cricket as well. I’ve played some vital innings for West Indies at Test level and I won’t leave any stone unturned to ensure that I excel at Test level. 

 

Q: What do you enjoy more? Bowling or batting? 

A: Both, as long as I’m fit. 

 

Q: In an era of hectic cricketing schedule, what do you do keep yourself fit? How difficult it is to comeback after an injury considering you suffered a knee injury during World Cup? 

A: An injury is always a setback for a cricketer. It may sound like a cliché, but more than physical fitness, one has to cope with the impact of injury on the mind. But one has to keep up the spirit and must not get bogged down. It is a Herculean task to make a comeback after an injury, but if you show resilience and fortitude, you will be able to weather the storm.

I make it a point to hit the gym three days a week when there’s no cricket around. I also play a lot of football. We have a club called Manchester United in my city where we have a gala time playing football. I’m a big Manchester United fan. A healthy diet is another essential aspect of keeping yourself fit.

 

Q: Who was your role-model while you were growing up? 

A: Brian Lara is at the top of the tree. Ian Bishop and Desmond Haynes were others whom I always looked upto in my formative years. 

 

Q: Who are your favourite cricketers from the modern era? 

A: Sachin Tendulkar is, unarguably, the best cricketer from our generation. I had the privilege of sharing dressing room with him during my stint with the Mumbai Indians and I was blown away by his modesty. His greatness cannot be defined in words. Rahul Dravid and Matthew Hayden are the other cricketers whom I admire exceptionally for their cricketing brilliance. 

 

Q: Which is your favourite cricket ground in the world and why? 

A: My home ground, Queen’s Park Oval. That’s where I had my first brush with cricket and I learned the dynamism of cricket on this historical ground. I have unleashed some of my most scintillating performances on this ground. The ambience here is electrifying. It will always remain close to my heart.

 

Q: What is the best compliment you’ve ever received from anyone for your cricketing exploits? 

A: Brian Lara once told me during the practice session that he would happily take the field every day to play with me. Also, in the first season of IPL, Tendulkar said that it was pleasure playing with me and he thoroughly enjoys how I play my cricket. Coming from two venerable giants of the game, I felt touched and humbled. 

 

Q: Your music video has creating quite a buzz. Would you like to tell us something about this? Whose idea was it to shoot such a throbbing video? 

A: Music has always been one of my passions. I come from Trinidad & Tobago and music is an intrinsic part of our culture. The rendition was initially penned by a guy named Kerry Samuel. Then, my friend Beenie Man, who is a Grammy Award winner and myself came up with the subsequent idea to do the video for the track. I found the concept for the video fascinating and provided my inputs.

The video was shot in Jamaica. We started in the morning 7.00 am and finished at 8.00 pm. It was a great fun shooting the video and I’m ecstatic that it has turned out to be spectacular, with people liking it a lot. 

 

Q: Where do you see yourself going from here? 

A: Right now, my focus is entirely on Champions League. I will then make an endeavour to get my way back into the West Indies team. One of my cherished dreams is to see myself coming good in the Test format and bring back the glory days of West Indian cricket. And moreover, I want to enjoy every moment of my cricket. One must have his heart in the right place and everything else follows.

 

Q: What was your feeling after taking a great bowler like Dale Steyn to the cleaners last night? Was the onslaught planned?

A: Dale Steyn is one of the finest bowlers in the game, and I am thrilled to have got the better of him. We needed 23 runs in two overs and I was determined to see CSK through. The onslaught wasn’t planned. Cricket is all about momentum. Steyn bowled a slower ball to me, but it didn’t come out well and I bludgeoned it out of the ground. The six of that ball swung the momentum our way and we cantered home. I am looking forward to carry the good form in the rest of the matches.

 

Q: What’s your take on Mahendra Singh Dhoni‘s captaincy?

A: MS Dhoni is a brilliant captain. He has been instrumental in India’s spectacular performance in the last few years. He has the knack of bringing the best out his players and remains unruffled in pressure situations, a key ingredient for a captain. He played a big part in my innings last night. He kept on motivating and guiding me which gave me tons of confidence. He deserves a lot of credit for my performance.

(Navneet Mundhra is a dreamer who has no delusion of grandeur about himself. He is an eternal learner brimming with passion and compassion, a maverick who swears by perfection and integrity and an avid reader, devout philharmonic, die hard movie buff and a passionate writer)