Carlos Brathwaite, the West Indies Twenty20 International captain, said he had been confident of emerging victorious in the second and final game of their-two match series against India in Lauderhill, Florida, even though West Indies had been bowled out for 143 in 19.4 overs on Sunday (August 28). That was more than 100 runs fewer than the 245 for 6 they got in a thrilling one-run win in the first T20I on Saturday, but Brathwaite insisted that his bowlers were confident about defending their score at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground.
“Runs on the board is always runs on the board,” said Brathwaite after rain ensured a no-result in the second T20I, and therefore a 1-0 series win for his side. “The spirit and the attitude the guys had when the game was called off was India got a bit lucky with the rain. You never know what happens in cricket, and we had full belief to defend the runs on the board.”
Brathwaite felt that the time factor played a key role in the second T20I not being resumed. The start of the match had been delayed by 40 minutes due to technical issues with the broadcast, and it rained at the innings break too. The skies then opened up once again with India 15 for no loss in two overs. Leslie Reifer and Joel Wilson, the on-field umpires, eventually decided that the minimum of five overs couldn’t be bowled by the cut-off time.
“They were always working against time, especially given the 40-minute delay at the start of the game,” felt Brathwaite. “It was always difficult to get the ground ready after that downpour, and the time that was told to be cut-off. That was the major problem. If it would have dried, it probably would have helped, but the fact that we were working against time was the base issue. Although the facilities and infrastructure are fantastic, the equipment they had was not enough to get the ground ready on time and maybe they will have those in the years to come.
“Also there were about two or three spots that were pretty bad. The one area near the bowler’s run-up from the players’ pavilion end, the one near the advertisers mat and the one patch close to the 30-yard circle was pretty soggy. In my opinion, it was unsafe and although the run-up areas were okay, in a fast-paced T20 game, if a guy ends up chasing a ball and gets himself injured, that potentially could end his career. So we wanted the ground to be safe and in my opinion it was not and the umpires also thought the same.”
Brathwaite thus ended his first series as captain with a victorious result, which was also the first time West Indies were playing the shortest format since winning a second World T20 title in April this year. And the new skipper found plenty of positives to take away from the one and half games that were possible.
“I want to publicly state that the senior players all were positive supportive about my appointment and whenever I asked for suggestions, they gave ideas and suggestions and sometimes without even asking they were willing to help me out. As a young man, that means a lot to me.”
“Evin Lewis’s performance was fantastic, especially having to come in the 11th hour after (Chris) Gayle was declared unfit,” said Brathwaite of the first match centurion. “Johnson Charles who had two good knocks, Dwayne Bravo with that clinching last over, there were many positives. From an individual point of view, I learnt a lot as a leader over the last two days, just rubbing shoulders with the senior guys who had captained in the CPL for four years and who have more experience in winning games. For me to share the knowledge and get that knowledge will serve me in good stead.”
Elaborating on the leadership aspect, Brathwaite emphasised that although he was relatively new to the team and very new to the role, the support he had received from his teammates, many of whom were senior to him, was complete.
“I want to make a statement, since there were apprehensions about the circumstances surrounding my elevation to the leadership of the West Indies team. I want to publicly state that the senior players all were positive supportive about my appointment and whenever I asked for suggestions, they gave ideas and suggestions and sometimes without even asking they were willing to help me out. As a young man, that means a lot to me and I just hope that it continues, which will help me become a better leader and lead West Indies successfully in the years to come.”
Brathwaite was also enthused about cricket in the United States of America, and advocated playing One-Day Internationals in the country as well. “It feels like home for us and we want to make this our second home,” he said. “I can speak for myself and a couple of other guys. It’s a matter of USA experiencing these games. They need to make a template and make sure what format is played at what time of the year. They should play some ODI games here, and I want to see the 500-run barrier broken someday (in T20Is) and that could happen here. I think this venture will definitely blossom in years to come. Three, four days ago there was nothing here, they built the temporary stands in no time and they are taking it down already, no injuries reported, obviously that’s safe enough.
“Barring the rain, it was an excellent one and a half games. About the pitch, there was not much change between yesterday and today, the outfield was lightning fast. Some little tweaks and little improvements going ahead to improve the facility will definitely help in the long term for not only India and West Indies but for American cricket too.”