Carlos Brathwaite, the West Indies Twenty20 captain, has highly commended his senior players for the sterling support they have afforded him. Speaking unprompted near the end of the press conference after the second game at the Central Broward Regional Stadium in Florida on Sunday (August 28), the West Indies captain almost seemed to get emotional.
“I want to make a public statement,” Brathwaite said, “As I said earlier about the senior guys attitude to share their knowledge and share information. Persons were apprehensive about the controversial way, in some people’s eyes, Carlos Brathwaite was brought into the role. I want to publicly mention the senior players in the team. They’ve all been positive, they’ve all been supportive, and whenever I ask for suggestions they’ve given me suggestions, and sometimes I don’t even have to ask and they were willing.”
“For a young man that means a lot to me, and let’s hope that it continues for as long as possible, and then I can, in turn, become a better leader and continue to lead West Indies successfully for years to come.”
Those who saw the closing stages of the first game know exactly what Brathwaite was talking about. As the situation grew tenser and tenser, it was clear that Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, in particular, were very much involved in planning tactics.
Brathwaite had mentioned the senior players earlier in the interview. So his ‘public statement’ as he called it, was to emphasize his appreciation. “I think I have grown as a leader over the last two games. Just rubbing shoulders with the sort of guys who captained four years in CPL thus far and we have three winning captains as well. So they have a history of winning games, they have a history of winn9ng tournaments. And for me to have the ability to rub shoulders and get knowledge from them put me in good stead going forward as a leader.”
He commended other players too, especially opener Evin Lewis, who struck a century in the first game. “Evin Lewis was a standout for sure,” he said. “He came in at the 11th hour in the first game due to a failed fitness test for Chris, and the performance that he had yesterday was fantastic. Johnson Charles at the top of the order had two scores in two games. Dwayne Bravo with that clinching over yesterday.”
On the abandoned second game Brathwaite offered that they were in a race against time and the wet conditions, and it just was not safe enough to restart the game. “You’re always working against time,” he noted. “Especially with the 40-minute delay beforehand it was always difficult to get the ground in readiness for coming back before the cut-off. So that was the major problem. If it would have dried we probably would have, but the fact that we were working against time was the biggest issue.
“As we said in one of the previous interviews, the equipment that obviously will be had in years to come because of the fantastic infrastructure already in place will then eliminate stuff like this from happening.”
He went on to explain that a number of spots had not properly dried and presented safety concerns that could potentially lead to career threatening injuries.
Asked if the West Indies were lucky with the rain, he had a defiant retort: “Runs on the board are always runs on the board and the spirit and the attitude that the guys had when the match was actually called off, is that India got a bit lucky with the rain. You can never know what happens in cricket. But we had the belief that we could go out there and defend the runs we had on the board.”
Brathwaite spoke about the high quality of the playing surface, the outfield and the Florida experience in general. “It feels like home,” he remarked. “we want to make it a second home. I can speak for myself and I can speak for a few of the guys in the dressing room that had nothing but good things to say about the facilities. Even the police escorts. Everything is there around the cricket as you can see.”
He went on, speaking of the need ‘to make a template to move forward, knowing what time of year to play what format.’
“I love Fort Lauderdale and hope to come back soon.”