Bravo replaces Sammy as ODI captain

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – All-rounder Dwayne Bravo has replaced Darren Sammy as West Indies captain for next month’s Champions Trophy in England, in a move aimed at reinvigorating the One-Day International side.

The new move, announced Saturday by the West Indies Cricket Board, will relieve Sammy of some of the burden of the captaincy, which saw him leading the team in all formats.

He will, however, continue as captain of the Tests and Twenty20 squads.

“Our results in Tests and T20s have been showing consistent improvement and Sammy deserves every kudo for the work he has done in leading and moulding the team in these formats,” chief selector Clyde Butts said.

“We remain confident in his leadership in these formats and will recommend that he continues as the captain for Test and T20 cricket. However our ODI results have not been as strong and we believe that it is best that we freshen the leadership of the team in this format.”

Sammy, the once unheralded St Lucian, took over the helm of the side from Chris Gayle in 2010 and has presided over 25 Tests, 51 One-Day Internationals and 21 T20s.

Under the 29-year-old, West Indies won 19 one-dayers and lost 30.

Sammy was rested for the three-match series against Zimbabwe in February when Bravo, the previous vice-captain, took over the helm of the squad.

In 137 ODIs, Bravo has scored 2311 runs at an average of nearly 23.82 and has taken 160 wickets at 30 runs apiece.

Butts gave a wholehearted endorsement of Bravo’s ability, noting that he did not foresee any problems with the handing over from Sammy.

“Dwayne Bravo is an experienced, seasoned and senior cricketer who has demonstrated leadership qualities. He has served as West Indies vice-captain and has had some success when he has led the West Indies team on occasion,” Butts said.

“We believe that his transition to the position of captaincy will be a smooth one. The selection panel therefore recommended to the Board of Directors that Bravo be appointed captain and we are pleased that the Board has approved the recommendation.”

He added: “We have every confidence in Bravo as the leader of the ODI team and while his first assignment – the Champions Trophy – will be a challenging one we believe he will receive the full support of the players and the team management for a successful campaign.

“The decision will also allow Sammy to focus on the Test and T20 formats as captain while he will remain in consideration for One Day cricket as an all-rounder.”

Bravo’s appointment marks a remarkable turnaround for the all-rounder’s career after he endured a recent barren spell that saw him out of the side for almost a year, only returning for Australia’s tour of the Caribbean in March last year.

He had a modest series then, scoring 94 runs from five innings and nabbing just six wickets at an average of 34.

Overall since this return, Bravo has played 20 ODIs and made 401 runs at an average of just over 22, and has taken 24 wickets at 31.

The 29-year-old, who has already led West Indies in ten ODIs, will take charge of a 15-man squad that includes Sammy and sees the return of left-handed opener Devon Smith following a two-year absence.

Smith has forced his way back into the squad thanks to a prolific season in the regional one-day and first class championships, where he has been the leading run-getter.

He stroked 348 runs at an average of 58, with a century and three half-centuries.

Twenty-one year-old Barbados seamer Jason Holder, who made his international debut at the start of the year against Australia, returns after missing the Zimbabwe series as does fellow pacer Ravi Rampaul, who has not represented West Indies for the year.

Left-handed stroke-maker Kieran Powell was overlooked because of a finger injury. The Champions Trophy runs from June 6-23 and will be the last edition to be staged.

SQUAD – Dwayne Bravo (captain), Denesh Ramdin (vice-captain), Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Devon Smith. Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Tino Best.

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