Experienced Bravo hopes to mentor new generation of Windies death bowlers

By Sports Desk January 14, 2020
Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo. Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.

Recently recalled Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo is confident of providing part of the solution needed for the team regarding its noted lack of quality in the fast bowling department.  

The 36-year-old was recently recalled for the team’s upcoming series against Ireland after being out of international action for four years.  During the time, however, the all-rounder has enhanced his reputation as one of the sport’s premier death bowlers.

Chairman of selectors Roger Harper admitted that a primary reason for Bravo’s inclusion is geared towards bolstering the team’s death bowling.

"Death bowling is an art," Bravo said in a recent espncricinfo interview.

"Not many people around the world have really nailed death bowling to the T. If you ask anyone in world cricket to name five death bowlers in the last decade, definitely my name will come along with Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell Starc,” he added.

"It is not an easy time of the game, that's why it is called death. A special skill is required to bowl in those situations. Most times, if you have the ball in the death overs, and you don't win the game, everyone turns to you, and says, "okay, it is because of the last over.”

With the team’s struggles containing batsmen during the middle and death overs, often on full display, as it was at the ICC World Cup, Bravo hopes to serve as a mentor to a new generation of West Indies bowlers.

“My motivation also to try and work with current bowlers. There's [Sheldon] Cottrell, there's Keemo Paul, there's Alzarri Joseph, there's Oshane Thomas, there's Kesrick Williams. Collectively all of us have to get better, myself included. But with the experience that I have, I can get them to understand the importance of certain deliveries and when to bowl certain deliveries and work on a better finishing game plan."

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    Had Marva Holder been alive she would have been a very proud grandmother.

    On Wednesday, her grandson, Chemar Holder, received a call from Cricket West Indies for his first tour with the men’s senior team that will play three Tests in England starting July 8.

    For Holder, the leading pace bowler in the West Indies Championships that concluded in March, it was a dream come true.

    “It was a good feeling yesterday (Wednesday) when I got the call to know that I was included in the 15. It was something that I was always looking forward to and now I have got the opportunity to represent my country.”

    Holder, 22, took 36 wickets at a healthy average of 18.91 during the championships that was ended with two rounds to go because of the Coronavirus pandemic, leaving him just four wickets shy of the target he had set at the start of the season.

    Nonetheless, the West Indies selectors rewarded him with a place in the senior squad that is set to play the ‘bio-secure’ Tests series.

    “Chemar Holder is an exciting young fast bowling talent who is coming off an excellent domestic First-Class season. He should enjoy bowling in English conditions. He could prove a real asset to the team in England,” said Roger Harper, Cricket West Indies Chief Selector.

    Coming from a cricket-loving family, Holder has always enjoyed their support.

    “If things are not going well, they all talk to me, tell me to keep my head up, everything is not going to be the same,” he said. “So I always get support from them, especially my grandmother, who passed away. She was always my big supporter.

    “She stayed up all night and watched me during the U19 World Cup. Every time I play I remember her so she would be happy to find out this news if she was alive today.”

    Marva Holder passed away in 2016 at the age of 72.

     

     

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  • CWI confirms 14-man squad, 11 reserves for England tour CWI confirms 14-man squad, 11 reserves for England tour

    As was reported by Sportsmax.TV on Tuesday, Cricket West Indies' (CWI) selection panel named a 14-man Test squad for the proposed Sandals Tour of England 2020 that features newcomers Chemar Holder and Nkrumah Bonner.

    The selectors have also named 11 reserves for the tour that includes fast bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Oshane Thomas.

    The 22-year-old Holder – who is not related to captain Jason Holder – was the leading fast bowler in the West Indies Championship with 36 wickets in eight matches at 18.91 each, and was one of the successful ICC U-19 World Cup-winning side in 2016.

    Bonner, 31, will be making his Test squad debut after being one of the leading batsmen in the 2020 West Indies Championship with 523 runs in seven matches at an average of 58.11.  He has previously represented the West Indies when he played two T20 Internationals back in 2011 and 2012.

    Subject to the final approval of the UK Government, the West Indies will defend the Wisden Trophy in three back-to-back Test matches to be played behind closed doors,  starting on July 8.   The touring party that will all be tested for COVID-19 this week, is scheduled to fly to England on private charters on June 8.

    According to CWI, the West Indies squad will live, train and play in a “bio-secure” environment during the seven weeks of the tour, as part of the comprehensive medical and operations plans to ensure player and staff safety.

    The bio-secure protocols will restrict movement in and out of the venues, so the selection panel has also named a list of reserve players who will travel to train and help prepare the Test squad and ensure replacements are available in case of any injury.

    Chief selector Roger Harper explained that the squad will have the time to get accustomed to the new norm in the UK but feels that they have selected a competitive squad.

    “The new cricketing environment will take some getting used to. However, being in England and working together for four weeks before the first Test will give the squad the opportunity to get acclimatized and hopefully, mentally and technically adjusted to the demands of the new environment. Playing in July could be a blessing as the weather is likely to be warmer which will allow the squad more of an opportunity to play its best cricket,” he said.

    “I think we have a squad that will be very competitive. More than half of the squad were involved in the victorious Test series against England in the Caribbean last year so they will bring that experience, that knowledge and belief with them and marry it to the enthusiasm and vitality of the newcomers.

    “The experience of the players who toured England before in 2017 will also benefit the squad greatly. I expect that the bowling unit will once again provide a serious challenge for England and our batting will have to deliver. England is a tough team when playing in home conditions, however, I think the West Indies has a good chance of retaining the Wisden Trophy. We will have to bat consistently well to do so.”

    Harper believes newcomers Holder and Bonner will benefit greatly from the tour.

    “Chemar Holder is an exciting young fast bowling talent who is coming off an excellent domestic First-Class season. He should enjoy bowling in English conditions. He could prove a real asset to the team in England,” Harper said.

     “Nkrumah Bonner is an unflappable character. His ability to hold the innings together and bat through tight situations could serve the team very well.

    “Jermaine Blackwood returns by sheer weight of performance in the domestic First-Class season. His patience and application were evident and that resulted in much greater consistency which I look forward to him taking back into the Test arena. His experience of playing Test cricket in England should stand him in good stead.”  

    The chief selector also shed light on the inclusion of allrounder Raymon Reifer and Shannon Gabriel who is returning after undergoing surgery.

    “Raymon Reifer has been around for a while and has proved to be a real competitor with both bat and ball – qualities that will add great value to the team. Shannon Gabriel is working his way back to full match fitness after his ankle operation last year.

    “The four weeks leading up to the first Test will be of tremendous benefit to him. A fully fit and firing Shannon adds great potency to the bowling attack, so it is important to have him back at his best.”

    West Indies are scheduled to arrive in Manchester on June 9 and will be based in Manchester for a three-week period before moving to Southampton for the first Test at the Ageas Bowl. They will then return to Manchester for the second and third matches at Emirates Old Trafford.  All these matches will be played behind closed doors and are still subject to UK Government approval.

    The West Indies are scheduled to play the first Test at Ageas Bowl in Southampton from July 8-12.

    The action will then move to the Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester for the second Test from July 16-20 as well as the third Test from July 24-28.

    WEST INDIES TEST SQUAD: Jason Holder (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, and Kemar Roach.

    RESERVE PLAYERS: Sunil Ambris, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shane Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, and Jomel Warrican.

     

     

     

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