Dwayne Bravo has showered one of the best praises on teammate Andre Russell, comparing him to two of West Indies’ all time greats, Brain Lara and Chris Gayle, calling the fellow allrounder “best in the world”. Bravo’s comments came in the wake of Russell’s blistering knocks against Sri Lanka earlier this month which helped West Indies complete a 2-0 win.

In both matches, Russell was at his power-hitting best, smacking 35 off 14 balls in the 1st T20I and a defining unbeaten 40 off 14 in the next to earn the Player-of-the-Series award.

“He’s the best in the world,” Bravo, told Trinidad-based radio station I955 FM on Friday. “It’s the same I used to say of Chris Gayle when Chris Gayle was in his prime – we are happy to have him representing us, we didn’t have to come up and bowl against him in an international match. It’s the same with Andre Russell. Andre Russell now is our Chris Gayle, is our Brian Lara, in the T20 format. He is the superstar.”

Bravo, who made ended his retirement and came back to play T20Is for West Indies pointed out how a 0-3 defeat in the ODIs to the same team pushed and motivated them to bring out the quality that has made them two-time T20 World Champions. Under the leadership of Kieron Pollard and the guidance of Phil Simmons as coach, West Indies are beginning to turn a new leaf and Bravo feels the win against Sri Lanka is ready to shift Windies cricket towards a new era.

“Prior to that [T20I series in Sri Lanka], we weren’t really consistent as a team over the years in T20 cricket,” Bravo said. “With the 3-0 loss in the ODI series, we T20 guys had a chat among ourselves along with the management and made a pledge that we want to start back winning series. We said we wanted to be back being the most dominant team in the T20 format.

“We have produced some of the best players in the world and when we are together in the same team, we have to stamp our authority, and to get the cricketing world to respect West Indies cricket again and especially West Indies’ T20 team. We said, ‘All hands on deck, let’s start with this Sri Lanka series and make sure we send the message.’ Yeah, that’s what we did.”

This was Bravo’s second series for West Indies since coming out of retirement against Ireland in February. But a lot has changed for the better for the national team since Bravo was last around, which he noticed when his name appeared lower in the batting order in one of the games.

“When the coach wrote the batting line-up, I was down to bat at number nine. I said to the guys, ‘This is the first time I’ve ever been in a T20 team and I’m down to bat at number nine.’

“Putting all egos aside, I’m happy with that because at the end of the day, I accept the fact guys like Rovman Powell and Fabian Allen and [Shimron] Hetmyer, the talent and the ability they have to hit the ball, I’m just happy to be like that – father-figure, mentor, guide, to allow these young boys to go out there and showcase their talent to the world. All of us are on the same page, no egos in the dressing room, one common goal to just win cricket games and dominate.”