Darren Bravo - A player who could be so much more
Darren Bravo has been earmarked for great things ever since he arrived on the scene as a teenager. While he hasn't lived up to his full potential yet, it is worth looking back at how he has gone through each phase of his career.
As an U19 Hero:
As a talented kid from Trinidad, Bravo idolized Brian Lara and that was reflected in his performances when he played the 2008 U19 World Cup. He scored 155 runs at an impressive average of 55 in the tournament. That paved the way for him to enter the senior level.
His brother Dwayne was a member of the West Indies squad by then, so he got plenty of exposure in his home itself. Dwayne has always been a very good all-rounder whose play was most suited for limited overs cricket. But Darren's style of play looked apt for the longest form of the game.
As a Test star:
When Darren got the chance to play against Sri Lanka, he ended up with an average of 68 in that series. He looked like the best prospect for Windies in Tests after the retirement of Lara.
Over time, his style started earning a lot of comparisons with his idol Lara himself.
Bravo went on to become a consistent player for Windies in the longest format of the game. When he toured India in 2011, he scored 136 and 166 playing against some top quality spin bowling. Coincidentally, his average at that point of his career was equal to that of Lara after the latter had played the same number of innings.
Bravo continued his rich form against Australia and Bangladesh that year, and became a regular member in the Test squad. He was the most reliable player along with Shivnarine Chanderpaul at that time. He maintained an average of 40+ in Tests, which was tough even for Virat Kohli at that time.
Little success in ODIs:
Bravo used to be in and out of the ODI side until he became more consistent in Tests. He fared decently in ODIs but could not contribute for a significantly long period of time.
Bravo scored his first ODI century against Zimbabwe in 2013. His saw a decline in his ODI form after that, but his Test results remained on par with the modern greats.
Bravo was bought by SRH in the IPL for $100,000. However, he couldn't replicate his Test success there and eventually SRH released him from their squad.
A rebellion which caused an axing:
After seeing the politics happening in the WICB, Bravo couldn't keep quiet - just like another left-handed great Kumar Sangakkara. He took to Twitter to reveal his anger against the WICB president Dave Cameron, calling him a 'big idiot', and that resulted in him being axed from the side.
Bravo has been out of the Windies squad for the past two years even though he has had the highest average among all the active players. At the time he started being ignored by Windies selectors, his averages were as follows: 40 in Tests with 8 tons and 32 in ODIs with 3 tons.
If Bravo had been allowed to play in the last two years, he might have been among the modern greats, alongside the Fab Four of Kohli, Smith, Root and Williamson. But that was not to be.
It is good to see him coming back to the squad against the Indians in the recently concluded T20I series. His fans would want to wish him all the best to become the world's best Test player, which he is very much capable of.