Free Press Journal

Hopefully I would play the World Cup: Bravo


Indian Premier League (IPL) Chennai Super Kings cricketer Murali Vijay speaks next to all rounder Dwayne Bravo during a promotional event in Chennai on March 22, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKAR

Chennai : Out of national of reckoning for a while now, West Indies allrounder Dwayne Bravo is hoping to get a chance to play for his country at next year’s World Cup after the two-time champions qualified for the 50 over quadrennial event to be held in England.

The West Indies snatched a spot at next year’s World Cup by notching up a five-run victory over Scotland via DLS method in Harare.

Bravo, who has been out of the ODI side since the tour of India in 2014 and last played for West Indies in September, 2016 at Abu Dhabi, congratulated the young team for making it to the World Cup.

“First of all, congrats to the team for qualifying. I am happy for the guys. World Cup without the West Indies… I mean there is FIFA World Cup without Italy. These things are possible. No one team or one country are guaranteed anything,” he told reporters at a promotional event here.

“It is a young team. The cricketing world loves to see West Indies and love to see West Indies competing with the best. I wish them all the best. Hopefully, I would get to play in the World Cup as well,” added the 34-year-old former skipper.

Bravo along with a few others have been at loggerheads with West Indies board over pay. Recently Cricket West Indies (CWI) chairman Courtney Brown had said that Bravo had “indicated that he is no longer available to play cricket for the West Indies”, a claim denied by the allrounder.

Bravo, who plays twenty20 cricket in Big Bash League, Pakistan Super League and Caribbean Premier League (CPL), will return to the Chennai Super Kings in IPL and said it was like coming back home for him.

“Coming back to CSK is like coming back home for me. We missed the IPL for the last two years. I was following the auction from Australia and I was hoping and praying that I would be picked by CSK. I’m very thankful to the management for showing a lot of faith in me,” Bravo said.

“I enjoyed a good period of rest after playing in the Big Bash just to keep myself physically and mentally prepared to give my best to CSK. I enjoy my time in Chennai,” he added.

Heaping praise on CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Bravo said, “It is led by the best captain in the world. For me personally, CSK has done a lot and I would want to entertain the Yellow Army.

“I’m not under any pressure. This is the most experienced squad that we have. We have guys like Shane Watson, Jadeja and (MS) Dhoni. As ‘captain cool’ Dhoni keeps saying, pressure is something we have to embrace. I’m excited to work with the local young talent, especially the fast bowlers. I’m happy to be a part of very talented and also an experienced group.

Asked why West Indies cricketers do well in T20 leagues across the world, Bravo said the West Indies players fancy themselves in the shortest format.

“West Indian players fancy ourselves in the shortest format of the game. We play the game with the right spirit, attitude and flamboyance. We are natural entertainers and enjoy playing in these competitions. It is not just about playing tournaments but winning them as well.”

‘Was approached for county when went unsold’

 Chennai : When he went unsold on the first day of the IPL auctions, Murali Vijay suddenly started getting calls to play in English county just like other Test specialists Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma.

However on the second day, he was back ‘home’ with Chennai Super Kings picking him late in the day and the opener recalled it with a hearty laugh. “A lot of people approached me especially after the first day of the IPL auctions when I went unsold (starts laughing),” Vijay fondly recalled during a promotional event.

The question was asked in the context whether he would like to play county cricket before the England series.

“As for the county stint, there are a lot of procedures involved and we have to wait. There is a lot of time before the England and Australia assignments. Being a professional, I am confident of making the necessary adjustments and put up a better show on those two tours,” he added.

Vijay, who was part of the CSK before moving on to play for other teams including Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab, said it was nice to be back at the Chennai franchise and ‘felt blessed.’ “It is a fantastic opportunity for me to be back with CSK. I feel blessed to be picked by CSK. One good thing about CSK is that every individual puts the team’s interests ahead of his own. It’s important in franchise cricket for the overseas players and local players to strike right rapport and pull in the same direction. We would want to carry that into this year as well and play with fun and flair,” Vijay said.

As the discussions veered towards India’s performance in South Africa, Vijay felt that the Virat Kohli-led team did well but certainly there is room for improvement.

“The team did a great job in South Africa. Unfortunately, we just fell short in the Test series. We thought the effort level was fantastic from the bowlers. It’s just that the batsmen let the team down. But we bounced back well to win the third Test. If it was a five-Test series, it could have been interesting from my perspective,” Vijay added.

To a question if he was prepared to play with a free mind after the Test series loss in South Africa and his problems in the Tamil Nadu state team set-up, Vijay insisted he has always played with one.

“I always play with a free mind and I used the time away from game to work on my fitness. As a team, I am hoping that CSK will play with our usual brand and accomplish our goals. It’s going to be interesting time for us,” he added.

The stylish opener also said he had a lot of fond memories playing for CSK during his earlier stint and recalled a win over Mumbai Indians in Mumbai as a memorable one.

“I have a lot of fond memories of playing for CSK during my earlier stint. Beating Mumbai Indians in Mumbai is one and we plan to create more memories going forward,” he added.

Asked how different it was playing for CSK and other teams, he said it was hard to compare adding he hadn’t experienced the bonding while turning out for other teams.

“I take a lot of pride in representing a franchise from my state. It’s hard to compare CSK with other teams because as Bravo said we create a family-like atmosphere where all the foreign players and local players forge a close bond. I haven’t experienced this kind of bonding in other teams I have played for. I am confident that we will click as a unit,” Vijay added.

Meanwhile, the CSK CEO Kashi Viswanathan said it was up to the coach and captain to decide on the possible replacement for New Zealand all-rounder Mitchell Santner, who has been ruled out of the forthcoming IPL owing to injury.

“Mitchell Santner was an important member in our earlier scheme of things. As of now, it is up to the team management and the coach to decide on who his replacement should be,” he said.