Bravo - Honor to be compared to Lara
KOLKATA, India, IANS/CMC - Talented batsman Darren Bravo has often been compared with his cousin, the legendary Brian Lara. Cricket pundits have found Bravo's high back-lift, playing the ball late and the manner of executing off drives similar to those of Lara. And Thursday, the way the 22-year-old notched up an elegant hundred in a challenging situation, the parallel drawn may not seem without basis.
Coming to bat in the post-tea session Wednesday after the fall of the second wicket of Adrian Barath, Bravo authored a finely balanced 136 spread over 321 minutes to take the battle into the Indian camp in the second Test of the three-match series.
He put a defensive bat to the good deliveries, but pounced on anything that was loose or wayward, never letting the Indian bowlers get on top. There were only two hitches, Gautam Gambhir's poor throw enabled him to escape a run out, while umpire Bruce Oxenford seemed to have erred in turning down a close catch appeal.
Bravo was involved in two century-plus partnerships with Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels and once he was fifth out at 401, then only did the West Indies collapse. The last six wickets fell for only 62 runs and India won the Test by an innings and 15 runs, and the series.
While India dominated the game all the way, it was Bravo's valiant knock which every commentator had to praise. Many have predicted that Bravo's arrival could be the advent of something big in the Caribbean batting.
Bravo said he played his natural game as much as possible. "Luckily the big hits came off," he said.
He also said he has worked on his confidence level.
"I remembered something my brother (Dwayne) told me, that when you get the first century, the second and third will come much easier. That is something that I kept very close to me. Hopefully, I can continue with the performances for the West Indies," he said.
The Lara protegee says the constant comparisons with the great batsman do not put pressure on him as he considers the fellow Trinidadian his role model.
"I am quite honoured by the fact that I'm compared with Brian Lara. He is definitely my role model. I play my natural game and may look somewhat like him. But at the same time, I do know that emulating him will be difficult. It's really tough to achieve what he has. Now hopefully, I, too, will finish with some of the good players up there," Bravo said.
Bravo expressed sadness after the day's play that his hundred was not enough to save his side. But at the same time, he was proud of the stiff fight the Windies batsmen put up in the second innings.
"Making India bat again in any case was an uphill task. But anyhow, we have our heads high with our performance in the second innings."
However, he predicted equally tough days ahead in Mumbai where the final Test will be staged, beginning November 22.
"It will be difficult in Mumbai, too, but we'll certainly play with a lot of pride and passion," Bravo said.
Bravo said it was the Guyanese Shivnarine Chanderpaul's presence at the other end, which raised his confidence level.
"In fact, batting with Chanderpaul gave me a lot of confidence. Hope we have more such partnerships in future," he said.