He is often the player with the biggest smile on the cricket pitch. He celebrates every wicket with his trademark airplane hand-movement. After big victories, he is the life of the party and can be seen dancing in exhilaration.
However, despite his bubbly personality, make no mistake about it, Dwayne Bravo was a player who took his cricket seriously. It is widely anticipated that the upcoming T-20 World Cup will be his last time in the maroon color representing the West Indies.
Whether he performs good or bad, he has already cemented his place in West Indies cricket. In this article, we will look at his early life, career and the legacy he leaves behind for the region’s young cricketers.
Dwayne John Bravo was born on October 7, 1983, in Santa Cruz, Trinidad. It is said that from a young age, Bravo loved playing sports like football and cricket. However, cricket became his focus because of the inspiration of fellow Trinidadian legend, Brian Lara. Bravo developed his skills rapidly as a right-handed batsman, and at just ten years old he was selected in the Queen’s Park Cricket Club Under-15 side team. Later, he decided to add medium pace bowling to his game and started to bowl at 17 years old.
D J Bravo made his first-class debut for Trinidad and Tobago against Barbados in 2002 and started his career as an opening batsman in the Busta Cup. He later scored his first century at that level and was selected for the West Indies A squad for the tour of England in 2002. In the 2003 season, he scored another century but a tremendous spell where he took 6 wickets for 11 runs against the Windward Islands brought Bravo on the radar of the West Indies selectors.
He made his international debut in April 2004 against England in Georgetown, Guyana. According to Cricinfo, Dwayne would play in 164 matches for the West Indies score 2968 runs at a decent average of 25.36 for a lower middle-order batsman. In addition, he took 199 wickets which makes 3rd overall behind the legendary tandem of Ambrose and Walsh.
His initial performance in the ODIs led to his selection in the test team and made his debut at Lords in July 2004. He went on to play 40 Test matches, score 2200 runs at an average of 31.42 while picking up 86 wickets. Bravo decided to curtail his test and ODI career in 2010 and 2014 in favor of the emerging popularity of T-20 cricket.
He began his international career in this format in February 2006 and since then he has appeared in 86 matches, scored 1229 runs at an average of 23.18 while taking 76 wickets. He has a tremendous ability to vary his pace, bowl a deadly Yorker, and smash the ball to all parts of the ground.
Therefore, he continues to attract the attention of cricket franchises right around the world. His stellar performance has made him the record holder for the most t-20 wickets at 546 scalps in 502 matches. He is far ahead of the second-best bowler in Imran Tahir who has taken 420 wickets. He is also 36th overall on the batting list with 6597 to date at an average of 23.81.
Legacy for Young Cricketers
Dwayne Bravo will leave behind a legacy is because he demonstrated a strong work ethic, winning mentality, and leadership. Bravo is not the quickest bowler, the tallest bowler, or has the flamboyant talent to bat like some of his peers. However, he maximized every ounce of the talent he possessed and was always eager to learn and add to his game.
No one could have predicted 15 years when he made his T-20 debut that he would be the most prolific bowler in this format, and that comes down to his drive to be the best version of himself. I always admired the winning mentality he brought to the cricket pitch because there is hardly a game that I felt he was playing halfheartedly.
Bravo was the man you wanted the ball in his hand to bowl the final over or at the crease with the bat to finish a big chase. My first up-close view of his death bowling was on May 20, 2006. India needed 11 runs to win but with one wicket in hand. The battle would come down to Bravo vs Yuvraj Singh.
After Munaf Patel gave Yuvraj the strike on the first ball, Singh proceeded to smash back-to-back 4’s to reduce the deficit to 2 runs from the 3 balls. Bravo delivered a now trademark slow ball yorker to bowl Yuvraj and spark scenes of jubilation. It is not a coincidence that Bravo was a member of the West Indies team that won the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy, 2012, and 2016 T-20 World Cups because he brings a winning mentality to any team.
In 2021, Bravo is much older and has been using his experience to mold the younger players in the team. He could be seen on camera in the summer giving advice and encouragement to the young bowlers. As the captain of St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the 2021 CPL tournament, Bravo inspired his young players to win their maiden title. He inspired a player like Dominic Drake to deliver a man-of-the-match performance to clinch the victory.
Yes, Dwayne “The Champion” Bravo” has left a lasting mark not only on the West Indies but on world cricket.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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