McCullum crucial to title defence, says Bravo

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Dwayne Bravo says the presence of New Zealand batting star Brendon will be a major boost to Trinbago Knight Riders in the defence of their Caribbean Premier League title.

Brendon McCullum
Brendon McCullum

McCullum, a hard-hitting opener, is one of the new acquisitions for the franchise along with South African opener Hashim Amla and champion West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine, who has moved from Guyana Amazon Warriors after three seasons in Georgetown.

“They’re all world-class players. I’m very happy to pin down McCullum,” said all-rounder Bravo.

“He’s one of the world’s most dangerous players and a few years ago, when we were both playing for Chennai (Super Kings), I even asked him to come and play for Red Steel back then! Now the name has changed.

“He was part of the KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders) family back in IPL and it’s good that he joined the TKR team. So I’m happy to be team-mates with him, also with Hashim Amla who is another great player.”

Knight Riders – formerly Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel – will open the new CPL season on June 29 here when they clash with the Darren Sammy-led St Lucia Zouks in a 9 pm fixture at Queen’s Park Oval.

Two days later, they clash with Barbados Tridents in a repeat of last year’s final and close out their home leg with games against Amazon Warriors on July 2 and 2013 champions Jamaica Tallawahs on July 4.

And Bravo said the side was keen on repeating their success especially with the joy of last year’s win still very fresh in their minds.

“It was a great feeling and a great atmosphere last year. Trinidad & Tobago is known as one of the most carnival-like atmospheres when it comes to cricket,” the West Indies player pointed out.

“We’re a very patriotic country where cricket is concerned and to play the finals in your home ground, and to also go on and win the finals, was a great achievement by the guys.

The fans really get behind the team.

“We had a really good tournament last year, so we always enjoy playing at the Queen’s Park Oval, and last year the entire place was red and black. It was a crazy atmosphere! And to go out there and do it for the fans was very important, also because it was the first time for us to win the tournament was a great achievement.”

This year, all of the sides have strengthened. Two-time finalists Amazon Warriors have acquired the likes of Dwayne Smith and Australia leg-spinner Adam Zampa, while Tallawahs have managed to snare South African fast bowler Dale Steyn. Bravo, a seasoned campaigner with over 300 Twenty20s to his name, said facing fellow world class players provided great competition but also good camaraderie. “Playing against the likes of Dale Steyn and Dwayne Smith and these guys, I mean as international players, we face these challenges often,” he said.

“But being in the same dressing-room, you get to know them on a more personal level, which is good. Despite whichever team we play for, we know that it’s a good bonding and friendly relationship.”

The CPL wraps up August 7.

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