Bravo that man

Dwayne Bravo sounds more like a name of an American basketball player than a West Indian cricketer. And if this tour amounts to nothing more than a disaster in terms of results, at least the team has Dwayne and his heroics. This guy is seriously good and nothing less than entertaining to watch.

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He is cocky and boastful. He bounced Kevin Pietersen, knocking his helmet off, then sprinted down the pitch in a mad celebration – completely disregarding Pietersen who might well have been injured. “Who cares?!” Bravo might’ve thought. “I’ve just dismissed one of the world’s very best batsmen”. One who, incidentally, then claimed he had “never been hit on the head before”, a statement which I think might well be a load of balderdash.

Watching him bat today was a fascinating experience. Owing to yet another damned delay due to rain, Sky were showing us highlights of the 1993-94 tour – the tour which first sparked my love of the game, as I’ve said far too many times – containing West Indian batsmanship of true Caribbean flair. Their opponents, England, were a mishmash of talent: immensely gifted batsmen with mental flaws, brought up in an equally flawed county system. England rarely took the attack to West Indies. It was all about grafting and grinding.

Fast forward 13 years and how things have changed. Two West Indian batsman – Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul – battling it out as though their lives depended on it (their livlihoods probably do, but that’s a matter for another day). Battling it out like Atherton once did. And they did it brilliantly. Bravo to both of them, but particularly to Dwayne. He’s young and gifted and wants to succeed, badly. You can’t say that about many of his peers.

Incidentally, on comms today I nearly wrote “Barov” instead of Bravo. I told the readers this:

I nearly called Bravo “Barov” just then. Barov being Dwayne’s Russian cousin of course

A bored feedbacker wrote in to accuse me of being racist. Have the general public completely lost their sense of humour now?

Video of Kevin Pietersen losing his helmet

Dwayne Bravo dismissed Kevin Pietersen yesterday, hit wicket, when a bouncer zeroed in on his head, smashing his helmet off which then landed on his stumps. Here’s the video.

Fascinating to see Bravo’s euphoric celebration while Pietersen stands there, stunned and shocked.

Australia clean up

Australia made short work of the West Indies target, winning the Third Test with few alarms. Matt Hayden went on to 87 not out, narrowly falling short of getting five centuries in five Tests. Meanwhile Michael Hussey picked up 30 more runs, and he finishes his first Test series with a batting average of 120.

For all their troubles, the West Indies did look like they have made some improvement in their team on this tour, and they are less weak then they appear. Dwayne Bravo is the obvious ‘find’ of the tour, but the economy and line of Collymore is another positive.

From the Australian fan’s view point, it is good to see ‘normal service’ resume, but the real pleasing thing is the emergence of Hussey and Hodge in the middle order. We now have six Tests against South Africa to look forward to, and that is a good chance for the middle order to settle in, before the real challenge against England next summer.

Bravo, Dwayne. Bravo

I’ve not seen much of Dwayne Bravo’s feats against Australia – missed his hundred, for starters – but I did catch his wickets in this Test, in particular his outstanding catch, off his own bowling, to dismiss Shane Warne (think it was Warne anyway). Catching is one of those rare moments of individualism in cricket; no one else can help or hinder your effort, so perhaps that’s why a stunning catch is, well, so stunning. Bravo’s was nothing short of brilliant: diving full length to his left (off his own bowling, I reiterate!) – ah, it was a thing of great beauty and he deservedly celebrated like a clown.

I first saw Bravo when he played against England last year, and his potential was obvious – perhaps now he’s realising that. More brilliance on Monday, please, Dwayne – and bravo to that catch