Browne, Bradshaw overwhelmed
In 2004, with a whole region’s hopes resting on their shoulders, they helped steer West Indies to an unlikely victory and the ICC Champions Trophy.
Eight years on, Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw may not have been at the crease to guide West Indies to victory Sunday, but they were definitely there in spirit.
With that astounding two-wicket victory over heavy favourites England at The Oval forever etched in their minds, the two men were overjoyed after watching the West Indies crush Sri Lanka by 36 runs to win their first ever ICC World Twenty20 championship.
In a telephone interview with MIDWEEK SPORT, Browne and Bradshaw acknowledged how proud they were of the regional side in their latest accomplishment.
“I always felt confident that West Indies would have a great chance of winning this game. I’m really proud of all the guys. I’m really proud of how Ottis Gibson and (Darren) Sammy have managed this team to a championship,” said Browne, a selector, who watched “from the first ball”.
“I’m really proud of Marlon Samuels, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, all these guys and how each member of the team contributed to our success. It shows that what we have been doing the last number of years is really working.”
Said Bradshaw: “At the end, when the guys won, it was good to see their joy, having accomplished such a great victory. They celebrated in a way in which only West Indians can, and it came as a result of the hard work which they put in, and it has climaxed with a wonderful moment in West Indies cricket.”
Bradshaw also revealed that the West Indies’ recent triumph bore some similarities to the one in which he and Browne played crucial roles eight years ago.
He said that both accomplishments came at a time when the region was struggling to reestablish itself as a cricketing powerhouse.
“Right now, there is a bit of uncertainty as far as West Indies cricket is concerned,” he said.
“The team left home with the intentions to go out there and win this tournament for the people and bring back confidence and belief into cricket.
“We had a similar feeling in 2004, because we wanted to go out there and show the world that West Indies was still a very dominant and dangerous force.”
Browne said he didn’t panic when tight bowling by Sri Lanka had limited the West Indies to 32 for two off the first ten overs.
“The thing about a final is everybody gets tense, everybody gets nervous and that is part of cricket. As long as you play cricket, you understand that these things will happen up front, but once you stay the course, you will get a total, and whatever total you get, you still have to defend it. The other team has to come out and get the score.
“It was always going to be challenging. I felt we stuck to our course and we did very, very well.”
Gayle, Sammy and Bravo were part of the 2004 Champions Trophy team and Browne felt that experience also helped them in the end.
He was reluctant to say that West Indies’ cricket, often beset by controversy and conflict, had turned the corner and was on its way back to the top. However, he felt there were signs that they could compete with the best.
“Over the last two years, you could see the momentum. You could see that we were putting things in place to make sure that our boys become competitive again. I really think this is the icing on the cake and I am really proud of our boys,” Browne said.