For the first time on West Indies' tour of Bangladesh, it seemed yesterday that a genuine captain was speaking to the media after Kraigg Brathwaite in the Tests and Rovman Powell in the ODIs filled in for injured regular skipper Jason Holder.
Carlos Brathwaite is the full-time T20I captain and as the leader in a format where West Indies are reigning world champions while they languish in Tests and ODIs, the hard-hitting all-rounder carries some authority and spoke with a degree of ownership of the team's fortunes on the eve of the first T20I against Bangladesh in Sylhet yesterday.
Perhaps the secret of their success in T20s is that a lot of their players -- Brathwaite himself, Evin Lewis, Kesrick Williams, Nicholas Pooran among them -- have shunned one of the two other formats in favour of playing in T20 franchise leagues all over the world. It seemed that Brathwaite had an understanding of the benefits of that approach -- at least as far as T20I performances are concerned -- when he flipped cause and effect while answering a question of how their participation in the Bangladesh Premier League will help them in this three-T20I series.
“It always helps to do well. If we do well here in three games, we can take the momentum to BPL and then you can be a solid player for your franchise,” Brathwaite said. “It gives you a chance to get a contract for the following year. Every game is important, especially international cricket where you have had to go through so much sacrifice, trials and tribulations to get here. Now we have the privilege of playing and living out our dream, but it is not just for the BPL but also for the family and fans back home.”
After humbling losses in the Test and ODI legs of the tour, Brathwaite was eager to give West Indian fans a Christmas present.
“The people back home deserve a Christmas gift. We hope to close out the year with a win. We still think T20 is our premier format. We obviously haven't had the results to be proud of in the recent past. But here's a chance to turn things around and end 2018 in a good way.”
Even with some form players like Evin Lewis returning for the world champions, many more like Chris Gayle and Kieran Powell have stayed away due to disagreements with the board -- a long-running bane that has brought Caribbean cricket to its knees.
“We have had some informal chats about it. We can't do much as players if we continue to lose. We don't have much power or say,” Brathwaite said. “When we start to win, we can pull on experiences on learning how to win games. We haven't been able to, because of a lot of chopping and changing for different reasons. Whenever a team is picked for a tour, we put our heads together as a unit, and find a way to win games. Once we do that, West Indies cricket will find a way to the top, whichever format.”