THE world of cricket bid farewell to West Indies stars Dwayne Bravo and Chris Gayle and thanked them for their service to West Indies cricket.
Bravo, 38, played his last match for West Indies against Australia in the International Cricket Council T20 World Cup, in the United Arab Emirates, on Saturday.
It marked the end of an international career that started in 2004.
Gayle, 42, has not confirmed his retirement but said in an interview he wants to play one more time in front of his home crowd in Jamaica.
Ireland will visit the Caribbean in January which may give Gayle the opportunity to play at home. Gayle made his debut for West Indies in 1999.
Following the match between West Indies and Australia, Bravo said, “I think I had a fairly decent enough career to walk away from the game. Being around the international circuit to represent my country for let’s say 18 years. I think as a kid growing if you told me that 18 years ago I would say you are lying. I am very grateful to represent the West Indies for so long.”
Bravo said he built many friendships over the years.
The all-rounder thanked his first coach at Queen’s Park Cricket Club Charles Guillen for believing in him.
He also reflected on playing with West Indies legend Brian Lara. Bravo and Lara were team-mates from 2004 to 2007 before the latter retired.
Talking about who else played a role in his development.
“Richard Smith my first captain for the national team and there are the Borde brothers – Colin Borde and Jerome Borde. These people played a big part in my upbringing as a player.”
Bravo said playing the game with passion was something he learnt from his mentors.
Pollard, who is three and a half years younger than Bravo, recalled watching Bravo play for a few years before getting the opportunity to join him.
“We are fortunate and lucky to have an individual like him amongst us for the last 18 years or so. My first interaction with him would have been with Queen’s Park and the TT cricket, but watching him before that as you said because I am younger than him the way that he celebrated his wicket, the flair he batted with those are the things I remember the most…thank you for being a great role model and mentor for us budding all-rounders coming through the Caribbean.”
Bravo said he would like to play franchise cricket for a few more years.
Recalling a few of his best moments for West Indies, Bravo said, “I have a few (memories) obviously getting my Test cap at Lords, my childhood hero Lara was the captain so that moment was very special. Winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2004 was another special moment for me, my first Test hundred against South Africa (was) another special moment and obviously the two T20 World Cup (titles in 2012 and 2016) I put high up there.”
Darren Sammy was the captain of the West Indies teams that won the titles in 2012 and 2016.
Sammy, who did commentary during the West Indies match against Australia, gave his thoughts on Bravo’s career.
“He was always about talking about creating a legacy, our own legacy. Sir Viv (Richards) and Sir Clive Lloyd and all of them did it in Test and an ODI format and we had an opportunity to create our own legacy in the T20 format and I think this team they have done that.”
Samuel Badree, a part of the 2012 and 2016 T20 World Cup teams, thanked Gayle and Bravo. He tweeted, “Trendsetters in T20 cricket and absolute legends of the youngest sibling of the sport. They have truly entertained, inspired and blazed a trail for the young guns to follow. Thanks for your yeoman service, gentlemen!”
Former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop, now one of the most respected commentators in the world, tweeted, “Two greats who have made outstanding contributions to the game.”
The West Indies Players Association tweeted, “Congratulations on an amazing career @DJBravo47. You have represented the region with class and we thank you. Sending best wishes to you on your retirement.”
Players who also competed fiercely against Gayle and Bravo also shared their thoughts on Twitter.
Former Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi tweeted, “One of the greatest T20I players of all time! Congratulations on a wonderful career @henrygayle. You inspired a new generation of players all around the world, go well Universe Boss.”
Former India cricketer and Bravo’s 2021 Indian Premier League team-mate at Chennai Super Kings Suresh Raina tweeted, “Congratulations for an amazing career @djbravo47 and @henrygayle. Thank you for all the great memories, International cricket will miss you. Have a great journey ahead Brothers.”
English television personality Piers Morgan tweeted, “The greatest entertainer in the history of world cricket bows out. What a batsman, what a character, what an irrepressible life force. A joy to watch him play, an honour to call him a friend. Congrats on a monumental career, Universe Boss.”