PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, June 22, CMC – Darren Bravo has predictably identified Brian Lara as his cricket hero, but denies he makes a conscious effort to bat like the West Indies legend.
The 20-year-old left-handed batsman was rewarded for a solid regional season for his native Trinidad & Tobago with selection to the West Indies’ squad for the first two of four One-day Internationals against India later this week.
Bravo, the younger brother of all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, is the only completely new member of the 13-member West Indies squad for the two matches which will be contested on Friday and Sunday at Sabina Park in Jamaica.
But he is commonly referred to as the Brian Lara Carbon Copy, since his batting style bears sharp resemblance to that of his T&T compatriot and former West Indies captain.
“I hear that a lot, but I go out there and play my game, the Darren Bravo game, and if in the eyes of the people it looks like Lara, then that is their judgment,” said Bravo. “At the end of the day, it is just my game.”
Bravo has also welcomed the support he has received from his older brother Dwayne and West Indies vice-captain Denesh Ramdin.
“Dwayne has always supported me,” said the younger Bravo. “He calls me often and says, ‘Beatle what is going on? Make sure you are practising your time will come soon’. He constantly urges me to practise and provides great motivation for me.”
“There is also Ramdin in the team who I respect and look up to a lot. I know the two of them, along with the rest of the players will be doing everything to make me feel comfortable and settle in with the squad.”
Now, he is looking forward to playing alongside his older brother, one of the most recognisable faces in the game today.
“I was very excited when I got the news, and it is really a great feeling for me,” he said.
“I am really looking forward to making the team and going out there and playing alongside my older brother on the international stage. It is one of my dreams and I am really looking forward to it.”
He added: “It would mean a lot to me if I could finally play alongside Dwayne in the West Indies team. This is a major goal of mine…We came from the same home, he followed in the footsteps of Brian, and now I can follow in his footsteps.”
The younger Bravo was selected on the basis of his 605 runs at an average of 43.21 in nine matches of the regional four-day competition this year. He scored 105 against Windward Islands at Pointe-A-Pierre, and 111 against Barbados at the same venue.
“I thought I started off pretty well,” he said. “I had certain goals, and the finger injury was a setback, but I maintained my fitness and came back with a hundred against Barbados.
“It was a good season for me, and being called to the West Indies squad shows that hard work and patience really pay off and I am very grateful for the opportunity.”
Darren’s selection would be double-delight for his father Morgan – not surprisingly a keen cricket fan – who has travelled the Caribbean to watch his older son.
He must be packing his bags to head to Jamaica, enthralled by the possibility of not just one, but two sons playing for West Indies in the ODIs.
“My parents are quite excited and they will be coming to Jamaica also,” said Bravo. “They have provided me with everything, and I could not ask for anything more.
“I want to make them proud because they have always been there for me.”