PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago –– West Indies selector Courtney Walsh has placed faith in Darren Bravo as one of the key cogs he hopes will move the team forward, after a disappointing 2015 thus far.
Following a dismal World Cup outing and the current predicament of missing out on the 2017 Champions Trophy, the revered ex-pacer admitted that improving the Windies’ batting was key to moving forward, and labelled Bravo as “instrumental” to the future.
Bravo starred as part of the title-clinching TT Red Steel in last month’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), finishing ninth in t he batting leaderboard with an average of over 32, as his form in the latter stages propelled the squad to success. Walsh backed this to kickstart his long-format batting and make his return after missing out on a huge portion of international cricket over the last year due to “personal reasons”.
“Darren Bravo will always be up there for me. Our recent batting displays have been disappointing and plays into why we are where we are. We’ve been showing bright spots in spurts but across the board, no matter the format, we need to bat longer and get bigger scores. We’ve seen what Darren can do for us in the past and he’s always going to factor in once available. When he gets off, he does so well. But it’s when he stays in the wicket that you see our batting flourish. We’re all eager to see him don the maroon again,” Walsh said.
He also called on other batsmen to step up.
“In terms of Tests, you’ve got to look at Kraigg Brathwaite –– one of our better performers. Marlon [Samuels] is also someone who’s experienced and whom you expect to bring more to the table but you’ve also got youngsters like Shai Hope coming through and doing really well,” he added.
Walsh also expressed confidence in the region’s bowling resources.
“We’ve got spinners like [Sunil] Narine, [Devendra] Bishoo and now [Derone] Davis who didn’t play much but is now coming to the fore. He has really impressed me in particular. T20s [have] given a lot of these guys a platform and we’ve been using spinners a lot, but our seamers are doing well,” he divulged.
Three quicks he was eyeing to help reestablish the team’s international pedigree were Bravo’s compatriot, Shannon Gabriel, alongside Jerome Taylor and Kemar Roach.
“Jerome’s done well on his return and he’s one we need to take us forward. I also thought Kemar would be driving us more as well but we know he’s had injury issues and then, you’ve got Shannon.
“Shannon has been developing so well and we’ve all seen his potential and what he can do. It’s good to see him improving more and more over the years. CPL played a part in that but he’s been getting more international exposure and you see it in his confidence and attacking nature now with the ball,” Walsh continued.
The Jamaican admitted that the variety of pitches in the region was something that inadvertently worked in their favour.