CARDIFF – Dwayne Bravo says he is excited and eager to lead the West Indies into the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy 2013 and will give his all to see the Windies win the prestigious tournament for the second time.
The live wire all-rounder will be at the helm for the first time in a major international tournament and spoke highly of the team’s chances as he addressed the media on Wednesday.
“The ICC Champions Trophy – we as players know it as the mini-World Cup – we see it as a very important tournament. For us as a team and all the cricketing nations also, we are really looking forward to it. I, myself, it’s a new road for me taking over the ODI team, and I’m really excited to be a part of a side that has so many world-class players,” Bravo said.
“We’re in a very tough group – India, Pakistan, also South Africa – so it’s not going to be easy. Playing in England, also, is always challenging in itself, but we are up for it. We are looking also forward to the two warm-up games against Australia and Sri Lanka.”
Bravo was a member of the team in 2004 when the West Indies won the ICC Champions Trophy – beating England in the final at The Oval – and he is looking to emulate mentor Brian Lara and lift the trophy.
“That is one thing I’m going to instill in the team. We are away from home, we are away from our comfort zone, but at the end of the day, we are professionals and we have to try and adapt to any kind of conditions before us,” he said.
“That’s the biggest challenge, and it’s something that I’m prepared to let the guys know. I’m sure that everyone will be looking forward to it because it’s a prestigious tournament and it’s another tournament we would love to win. We won it here in 2004. Now, we have like five players from 2004 who are here again today. So, it’s good to know we still have basically the core of the team around, and hopefully, that will help.”
The ICC Champions Trophy 2013 will feature eight teams: Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies. The tournament will be played at three venues – Cardiff Wales Stadium, Edgbaston and The Oval – from June 6 to 23.
The Windies open against Pakistan on June 7 at The Oval and return to the famous venue on June 11 to take on India. The final preliminary match will be against the Proteas on June 14 in Cardiff.
Bravo has been one of the key members of the Windies set-up since he made his international debut in early 2004. He has so far appeared in 137 ODIs and has made 2 311 runs and taken 160 wickets – making him one of the most successful all-rounders in this format of the game for West Indies. He was a member of the team which won the ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka last year and said the team would use that momentum and new found belief to push them in the coming weeks.
“We don’t think we are favourites. We just want to concentrate on what we have to do. We’re in a very tough group, and first of all, we want to take it step by step, try and survive that group. The talk around is that this is the ‘group of death’, so hopefully, we get out of the group of death and then take it from there,” the 29-year-old-said.
“A tournament like this is short and you never know what can happen. Being called favourites . . . it’s good that other teams and media people can actually look at us as favourites, but we just want to be humble and go about our business in our own way and let the Man above take care of our destiny.”
Bravo added: “Lately in ODIs, we never used to score enough runs as a batting team, especially against the better teams, but at this time, we’ll try to approach it differently. We will try to structure our batting a lot differently. Our approach through the middle is going to be different.
“The most important thing is to try and keep wickets in hand, and I think that is what our approach is going to be in this tournament. We bat very deep, and like I said, we can make up at the end of the innings. We have players who can hit a six at any point in time.”
Squad: Dwayne Bravo (captain), Denesh Ramdin (vice-captain/wicketkeeper), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Devon Smith.
Pre-tournament warm-up matches
Saturday, June 1: vs Australia at Cardiff (day/night)
Tuesday, June 4: vs Sri Lanka at Edgbaston
Preliminary matches Group B
Friday, June 7: vs Pakistan at The Oval
Tuesday, June 11: vs India at The Oval
Friday, June 14: vs South Africa at Cardiff
Wednesday, June 19: at The Oval
Thursday, June 20: at Cardiff
FINAL: Sunday, June 23 at Edgbaston.