The West Indies are currently suffering in the international arena. Their young side is floundering in both Test and One Day cricket as the selectors continue with a rebuilding process which, is correct in principal, but being erroneously implemented.
There is talent in their side in all three formats, but often it is a lack of consistency and willingness to concentrate for long periods that is holding them back. While the Test team as a whole are struggling immensely in Australia, one player is beginning to stand out from those around him.
A new West Indies star in the making?
Darren Bravo has been long earmarked for success and he may now be starting to deliver at the age of 26. Before the current series against Australia, Bravo had played 39 test matches, averaging over 40 with the bat and scoring six centuries.
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However, all too often the number three would effortlessly stroke his way to 30 or 40 and then be dismissed softly. Down under, the Trinidadian has compiled scores of 108 and four in Hobart, 81 and 21 at the MCG and 33 in the first innings in Sydney.
It is clear that he has added the mental toughness to his game that is required to become a great player. Bravo now appears to be both capable and more importantly, prepared, to score runs in any conditions or match situation.
During his 108 in Hobart, he struck 20 boundaries in a serene performance while the rest of the team struggled, reaching just 223 in the first innings.
Man for the all situations
In the face of another huge first innings deficit in Melbourne, Bravo dug in superbly and combined resolute defence with occasional brilliance in a 204 ball vigil. His latest two knocks have contained similarly defiant defence but have been curtailed early by some excellent Australian bowling.
Constant comparisons with the great Brian Lara have perhaps placed undue pressure on Bravo’s shoulders to date, but it is now apparent that the comparisons may not be misplaced. Aside from the familial ties they share, there is a distinct similarity with Lara when he plays through the off-side with a flourish.
Bravo has now scored hundreds in India and Bangladesh where a mastery of spin bowling is required, alongside centuries in New Zealand and Australia where seam and bounce rule respectively.
Needs to prove he is one of world's best
With a solid foundation to his Test career, an ability to bat in all conditions and apparently now the required temperament to regularly bat for long periods, Darren Bravo now appears to have all the tools required to become the next great West Indian batsman.
At the age of 26, he should be beginning to reach his peak years as a cricketer and could have another ten years to come in the international arena. If the West Indies are to successfully rebuild in the coming years, they need Bravo to further convert his talent into match-changing performances and to become the cornerstone of his country’s batting line up.
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