Badree: Afghanistan's Bravo hire 'strategic'

 In this November 6, 2021 file photo, West Indies' Dwayne Bravo bowls during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup match against Australia and West Indies at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. -
In this November 6, 2021 file photo, West Indies' Dwayne Bravo bowls during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup match against Australia and West Indies at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. -

FORMER West Indies spinner and two-time International Cricket Council (ICC) men's Twenty/20 World Cup winner Samuel Badree says Afghanistan's appointment of his former teammate Dwayne Bravo is a strategic move and he believes the ex-Windies captain will add great value to the Asian team.

On Tuesday, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) confirmed Bravo's appointment as a bowling consultant for the June 1-29 T20 World Cup which is being co-hosted by the West Indies and the US.

"The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) announces the appointment of former West Indian great and T20 World Cup winner Dwayne Bravo as the bowling consultant of the Afghanistan national team for the T20 World Cup 2024," a release from the ACB said.

"Bravo is set to join the team during the preparation camp ahead of the marquee event in the Caribbean."

The Afghans are in St Kitts and Nevis for a ten-day long training camp in the buildup to the World Cup.

Bravo confirmed his new role via Instagram.

"Thank you (to the Afghanistan Cricket Board) for trusting me and giving me the opportunity to work with such a very talented group of players. I look forward to this new challenge and can't wait to get started," said Bravo, who played alongside Badree in the West Indies' runs to the 2012 and 2016 T20 World Cup titles.

Led by ace leg-spinner Rashid Khan, the Afghanistanis are in group C alongside New Zealand, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Uganda and the West Indies.

Badree said Bravo's appointment, along with PNG's hiring of former West Indies coach Phil Simmons as a specialist coach ahead of the World Cup, speaks to the homework being done by the varying teams and the inside knowledge they are trying to gather. Simmons was the coach of the Windies team which lifted a second T20 World Cup crown in 2016.

Last December, reigning T20 World Cup champions England hired former West Indies captain Kieron Pollard, as an assistant coach for the upcoming World Cup. England are in group B alongside the 2021 champions Australia, as well as Namibia, Oman and Scotland.

"I think Dwayne's appointment by the Afghanistan team is quite a strategic move by them, knowing the experience Dwayne has in TT cricket. He has the most wickets in this format in the history of the game. And of course, he understands the conditions quite well," Badree told Newsday.

"I'm sure he'll be hoping from a team's perspective with his appointment that Afghanistan will qualify beyond the first round. I think it's a very good move by Afghanistan to get somebody with the expertise and experience of Dwayne Bravo in their corner."

The 40-year-old Bravo played 91 T20 matches for the Windies, with his last match coming at the 2021 T20 World Cup in a group stage match against the Aussies. Bravo, regarded as one of the pioneers of the T20 game, played 295 matches in total for the West Indies. Bravo took 363 international wickets across all formats, with 78 of those coming in the T20 format.

Bravo took 625 T20 wickets in a 19-year span with his wily medium-pace and crafty slower balls. Khan is second to Bravo on the all-time T20 wicket-takers list with 574 scalps, while Bravo's former West Indies teammate Sunil Narine is third on the list with 550 wickets.

Bravo currently serves as the bowling coach for his former Indian Premier League team Chennai Super Kings.

"Of course, his overall game awareness is something which is unmatched as it pertains to death bowling in T20 cricket," Badree said.

Bravo helped the Windies to their T20 World Cup final wins against Sri Lanka and England in 2012 and 2016 respectively, and he finished with figures of three for 37 in the latter final as the Caribbean team pulled off an improbable win at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

In just over a week, though, Bravo's allegiance and wealth of expertise will be shifted from the men in maroon to Afghan blue.

And while Badree noted the "trend" with the appointments of ex-West Indies players for varying teams, he doesn't believe coach Daren Sammy and his team will be disturbed by the recent developments.

"I don't think the West Indies team will be overly worried about the appointments of these personnel in the respective teams. There is sufficient data available anyway on all of the players and all of the venues," he said.

Afghanistan will begin their campaign against the newcomers Uganda in Guyana on June 3. They will then play the Kiwis and PNG on June 7 and 13 respectively, before bringing an end to the tournament's preliminary round against Sammy's Windies in St Lucia on June 17.

"Teams want to get that inside knowledge of the conditions. You see it happening with other competitions as well. It's quite strategic and in my estimation they have chosen some really good former players to add value to the respective teams.

"I'm looking on quite intently to see what type of impact these appointments will have and to see if they can really create some upsets along the way."

Afghanistan will play two official warm-up matches at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad against Oman and Scotland on May 29 and 31 respectively. On the sideline, Caribbean supporters will see a familiar face, but he's likely to be doing his champion dance for a different team.


"Badree: Afghanistan’s Bravo hire ‘strategic’"

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