Barbados Today:– The news of Dwayne John Bravo’s decision to quit all forms of international cricket last week hardly came as a surprise to most people.
It had been over two years since the 35-year-old Trinidadian represented the West Indies in a T20 international, more than four years since he last played in a One Day International, and almost eight years since his last Test match for the regional team.
And even though his decision to turn out for the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the recently concluded Regional Super50 produced much speculation that Bravo might be selected in the Windies’ squad for the 2019 World Cup, his announcement still should have been expected.
Despite being regarded as one of the best T20 players, Bravo had not been chosen to represent the Windies since the ill-fated tour of Pakistan in 2016 and was unlikely to ever feature again.
Much can be said about Bravo during his 14-year career in the maroon cap, during which he was named captain in all three formats of the game.
In 40 Tests for West Indies, he scored 2200 runs inclusive of 3 centuries and 13 half-centuries at an average of 31, and took 86 wickets at an average of nearly 40.
Bravo also played 164 One-Day Internationals, scoring 2968 runs at an average of 25 with two hundreds. He snared 199 wickets at an average of 29.
In his preferred T20 format, he made 1142 runs with four half-centuries at an average of 24.29 and took 52 wickets at an average of 28.26.
Those statistics are neither mind-boggling nor sensational. They cannot compare to those of Garfield Sobers or even Chris Gayle.
In fact, many people would argue that Bravo underperformed during his time playing for the West Indies.
However, what can never be said about Bravo was that he failed to put his best foot forward.
Significantly, Bravo was a member of every title-winning West Indies side over the last two decades. He featured in the final against England when the Windies won the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy, and also starred in the successful 2012 and 2016 T20 World Cup campaigns.
One of the most memorable moments of Bravo’s career though, was his pivotal role in the controversial abandoned tour of India due to a protracted payment structure dispute with the then West Indies Cricket Board, since renamed Cricket West Indies.
Bravo, who was captain at the time, led a strike after claiming that West Indies Player Association president and chief executive Wavell Hinds had kept the players in the dark over a Memorandum of Understanding which had been presented by the WICB and which Hinds allegedly signed without their consent.
His actions angered WICB president Dave Cameron. He was subsequently stripped of his captaincy and replaced by Jason Holder, and was also dropped from the 15-man squad to tour South Africa the next month.
He never played another ODI for the West Indies.
But for all of the drama which followed Bravo throughout his career, he will be fondly remembered as a man who always gave of his best and who backed himself to the end.
On most occasions he could be counted to bowl the final over, with his wide array of yorkers and slower deliveries almost sure to bamboozle batsmen.
Bravo currently has the third best figures ever by a ODI captain, courtesy of his 6-43 against Zimbabwe in 2013.
Even off the field Bravo made a name for himself, with his 2016 hit song Champion which the West Indies danced to after winning the World T20 title that year having been seen over 69 million times on the popular social media site YouTube.
So while Bravo might not have been as spectacular as Brian Charles Lara, or always as dependable as Shivnarine Chanderpaul, whenever he stepped on the cricket field he gave of his all.
And for that Dwayne John Bravo will always be remembered as one of the fiercest competitors to ever represent the West Indies.