FORMER West Indies wicket-keeper Deryck Murray and former director of the West Indies Cricket Board (now Cricket West Indies) Baldath Mahabir said Dwayne Bravo cannot simply walk into the West Indies team, but must earn his pick after officially announcing on Friday that he is now available for T20 International cricket.
The all-rounder told ESPNcricinfo he is “fully committed” to the regional team and will make himself available for all T20 matches played by the West Indies.
Bravo has not played for West Indies since September 2016 and had been at loggerheads with former CWI president Dave Cameron.
Bravo, 36, has played 66 T20 matches for West Indies, taking 52 wickets at an economy rate of 8.46. In the batting department, he has scored 1,142 runs at an average of 24.29. Bravo is one of the most experienced T20 players in the world with 450 T20 matches under his belt and is only behind West Indies captain Kieron Pollard.
The announcement by Bravo on Friday does not come as a shock. In an interview with Newsday in October, Bravo said he was thinking about a return to T20 International cricket with the number of changes in West Indies cricket, including new president Ricky Skerritt.
“It cross my mind yes. Obviously when the president changed at the start of the year just before the (2019 50-over) World Cup I did make myself available for selection for the World Cup, but was not selected. I have been thinking of actually coming back and playing T20s, definitely not ODIs. As long as I am healthy and fit I still feel like I can contribute internationally for West Indies, so it is being thought of. You never know, let’s see how next year goes,” Bravo said. Murray, who played 62 Test matches for West Indies from 1963 to 1980, was delighted to hear the news that Bravo wants to return.
“It is always good when one of our proven players is willing to represent the West Indies. He is certainly done well all around the globe particularly in this format of the game and with his experience he could bring some of that experience and some of his skills to the team at this stage when the team is in transition.”
The former Windies keeper said Bravo is not an automatic selection. “I don’t think anybody should be an automatic pick on any team. You get picked on performance, in terms of the conditions and the opposition that you are going to face. It is not automatic, but it is nice to have choices.”
Mahabir, who said in an interview on Thursday that he does not know if Bravo will fit in the current team with the number of all rounders available, said he has to be given a fair chance. “We have to see what the form looks like in IPL (Indian Premier League) when he is back playing because he has not played for a while and then the selectors have to judge him with every other player. He must be given a chance and it is based on the form in the tournaments.”
Other than the IPL, the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League from August to September will be an important tournament for the West Indies players to make an impression on the selectors before the 2020 T20 World Cup bowls off in October in Australia. “I don’t think he is an automatic pick,” Mahabir said. “He has to work his way back to the team.”
Mahabir said there are a number of all rounders around including Sherfane Rutherford, Keemo Paul, Jason Holder, Rovman Powell, Andre Russell and Pollard.
“The greater depth we have is the better for West Indies cricket, so you have no automatic selection and people must be always on top of their game and on top of their fitness level to be able to make the team.”