West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo hailed teammate Andre Russell as the ‘best in the world’ in the T20I format and stated the side’s mission to regain their dominance in the shortest format.
Two-time ICC Men’s T20 World Cup champions West Indies have been slightly off-colour in the shortest format. Prior to the series in Sri Lanka, they’d lost series against Afghanistan, India and were only able to draw one against Ireland.
Bravo, returning to the national T20I set-up for the first time since 2016 for the Ireland series, said the team vowed ahead of the Sri Lanka series to regain lost ground in T20Is. West Indies went on to win 2-0.
“Prior to that [T20I series in Sri Lanka], we weren’t really consistent as a team over the years in T20 cricket,” Bravo told I955 FM, a Trinidad-based radio station. “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.'”
Andre Russell, a global T20 star, was instrumental to West Indies’ success in both matches. He smashed 75 runs from two innings at a mind-boggling strike-rate of 267.85, including 10 sixes. He also bowled his full quota of overs in both games at a reasonable economy rate of 8.25.
“He’s the best in the world,” Bravo said of Russell. “It’s the same I used to say of Chris Gayle when Chris Gayle was in his prime, [that] 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 himself played a key role with the ball, but his services with the bat weren’t called upon in either game. An all-rounder by trade, Bravo is used to batting in the lower-middle order, but was pushed down to the lower order during the series. He feels his demotion is a sign of the abundance of talent in the West Indies set-up and is more than content to let the younger batters take centre-stage.
“When the coach wrote the batting line-up, I was down to bat at No.9. 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 No.9.’
“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.”