Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Darren Bravo named WIPA Cricketer of the Year

Darren Bravo was thrilled to get some advice from the
legendary Sir Garfield Sobers (right) who was at
the preparatory camp in Barbados. 
Left-handed batsman Darren Bravo was last week Thursday named as the Cricketer of the Year when the West Indies Players Association held its annual awards at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

The year 2013 was a special one for Bravo, who finally lived up the high standard expected of him. He scored a career-best 218 against New Zealand in Dunedin; it is one of the highest scores ever recorded by a West Indian in that country.

He was also named as the Caribbean T20 MVP.

Bravo noted that he was proud of his innings in New Zealand especially as it helped the West Indies stave off what looked like a certain defeat.

“We were staring down the jaws of defeat until I put up my hand and did the job for the team. The guys were supporting me along the way as well and it was good to know that we were facing defeat and were able to come out with a draw. I believe that is something to feel great about and I am looking forward to the upcoming series as well,” said Bravo.

As for the upcoming home series against the Kiwis, Bravo noted that it was important that he not only continue believing in himself, but that he sticks to the basics as well.

“The ball might not swing as much as in New Zealand, but New Zealand has a quality bowling attack and I believe they are going to use the conditions to the best of their ability so I believe that it is important that not only myself, but the rest of the team, play their natural game in the best possible way,” said Bravo.

"Their (New Zealand) bowling attack has been doing very well over the last couple of years. We don’t normally bat well twice in a Test,” Bravo said.

“At times we tend to get a decent score in the first innings and falter in the second or the other way around. That is something we need to rectify. When our batsmen get starts we need to carry on and get big scores.”

Bravo was part of the preparatory camp in Barbados where he spent time with the West Indies legend Garry Sobers. One of the things he picked up from Sobers was the importance of creating scoring opportunities, instead of letting the opposition bowlers take control.

“He singled out that I should be able to play all around the wicket,” Bravo said.

“At times the opposition will block your strong area. So you could take those same deliveries and play it through midwicket. You set the field for yourself, rather than let the opposition dictate your pace. I will be looking to do that in this series.”

He added that the time spent with Sobers was invaluable. “It’s something I will cherish for the rest of my life. When he left the camp I really started missing him. He eased my mind as much as possible and he was in the nets working on some technical areas and also sharing a laugh. Wonderful sharing a week and a half with him.”

Other major awards on Thursday went to Stafanie Taylor (Female Cricketer of the Year); Shivnarine Chanderpaul (Test Cricketer of the Year), Dwayne Bravo (ODI Cricketer of the Year) and Sunil Narine (T20 Cricketer of the Year).

Chanderpaul also received a special award as the first West Indian to play 150 Test matches, while Chris Gayle was also honoured as he prepares for his 100th Test match. (PG)

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