MUMBAI, India, CMC – For all his immense talent, West Indies Twenty20 captain Carlos Brathwaite will have to make do with a bit-part role for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League this season.
The 29-year-old is yet to play a single match, with Sunrisers making a strong start to the season, having won three of their first four outings to lie near the top of the standings.
“I spoke with coach Tom Moody and he was honest with me. He said my position in the squad is of a rotational player, and I will have to be patient for opportunities,” Brathwaite said recently.
“There are 14 matches, so it depends on opposition, grounds and conditions, as well as form.”
The scenario is in stark contrast to the one that existed when the barrel-chested Barbadian arrived in the IPL two years ago, as one of Delhi Daredevils’ marquee signings.
Only days earlier, he had covered himself in glory by sensationally blasting seamer Ben Stokes for consecutive sixes off the first four deliveries of the last over of the Twenty20 World Cup final, to help West Indies stun England in Kolkata.
And as much acclaim as the feat brought him, Brathwaite believes the achievement ironically worked against him.
“After that final, all of a sudden, I was not seen as a batsman or an all-rounder any more. I was seen as a six-hitter,” Brathwaite explained.
“Although I have played good matches since then, obviously they never reached the heights of winning a world cup final in India. So there is a lot of expectation, and when it doesn’t match up, my efforts are sometimes looked down upon or not appreciated enough.
“In some respect, that has been a hindrance. I have tried to break those shackles a bit, to perform as well as I can. Hopefully, I can continue on this journey of letting go and enjoying my playing time, while also learning and developing at the same time.”
Brathwaite, a powerful lower order hitter and steady seamer, managed only 83 runs and seven wickets from eight appearances in his maiden season for Delhi, and was limited to just two appearances last year.
In last January’s draft, he was picked up by Sunrisers for nearly US$300 000 and though opportunities have been non-existent, Brathwaite said he was enjoying just being part of the new setup.
“I was following the player auctions in January, and was a bit nervous. I am just happy to be here and excited knowing that an opportunity will come up shortly,” he said.
“It’s a happy bunch of players, and it feels like I am part of a family. They have retained their core of players so it is a settled team. I can also say this is easily the most welcoming franchise I have been a part of.”