Exclusive: MS Dhoni's T20I career isn't over until he decides, says Dwayne Bravo
There's much more to Dwayne Bravo than his unmistakable charm and lazy swagger. If you think that the catchy 'Champion' hook-step or his theatrical celebrations are the only reasons why he is the darling of the masses, all that is needed is a quick glance at his career's T20 column.
The double World T20 title-holder has stacked up astounding figures in the 20-over format, helped further by the volume of cricket he has played around the world.
One of the most sought-after all-rounders in franchise cricket, Bravo has 450 wickets in T20s - the next, Lasith Malinga, is a 100 scalps adrift.
He's a league-hopping globe-trotter, white-ball cricket's global icon, and a long-lasting success story in a format as fickle as the Twenty20.
Bravo might have bid goodbye to the Windies, but there's no stopping the Trinidadian from plying his trade in leagues across the world. From recurring injuries to back-and-forth tiffs with his board, he has endured a lot but keeps soldiering along, carrying the same zeal (and smile) that he has for the last 15 years.
He is currently part of the Maratha Arabians in the T10 league that is underway in Sharjah. Taking a small digression from the choc-a-bloc schedule of the unique tournament, Bravo spoke exclusively to Sportskeeda about the game's newest format, how it differs from T20s, and his unabashed love for the Chennai Super Kings.
Over the years, you have mastered the art of the T20 format. What place does T10 hold in your career?
T10 is new. I am taking the experience and success of T20, and I am trying to bring it over to the T10s. It's early days in this format and as a player, it is another tournament I would like to win and succeed in. It's still new and I am getting there.
Do you see T10 having a bigger foothold and becoming a long-term format in the future?
I think it will rise and become bigger, as long as it is run the right way. The players enjoy it, the older players can still participate in it. It is not stressful for anybody and it is not long. It is just entertainment and fun. You will see good players competing and that's what you want.
You are famed for using the slower ball to telling effect in T20s. Do you feel the T10s require further improvisation in bowling?
Yes. A slower ball is a weapon ball for me, but it can go also big over the park a lot. It happens to me a lot, but I still back my slower ball because it has given me a lot of success. It's a strength of mine.
With poor execution, it can be costly at times, but it is a delivery that batsmen know, at the back of the head, that they have to look out for. That's why, if I bowl a bouncer of a seam-up ball or even a yorker, it catches the batsmen off-balance. That's because they look for my slower ball and that's why it is good to have variations.
How do you think T10 can impact the life of budding cricketers in the West Indies?
T10 has given the opportunity to players to showcase their talent and the world is going to see them at a big stage, coming up against the best in the world. If they can dominate in any format and show that talent, you can also make the adjustments in different formats as well.
As long as you are talented, you can adjust and adapt. This gives you a platform to put your talent out there.
Which current international batsmen could do well in the T10 format?
A lot of international batsmen - from AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma to MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina, all these guys not available right now will definitely do well.
From a captain's viewpoint, what is the impact of Virender Sehwag and Wasim Akram in the coaching staff for the Maratha Arabians?
It is good to have both of them in the setup because they are past world-class players and legends of the game. The players respect them. Once you have past players who the current lot respects and look up to, whenever they speak, we listen because they have been there, they have done that and they have had success in it.
We couldn't have asked for two better icons to be involved.
Having retired from international cricket, how do you balance your workload now, especially with the number of leagues you play around the world?
I have a program that I follow and tend to rest a lot. Because there is a lot of time on the road, it is harder to be a professional like this. At the same time, this is what I love doing and enjoy and I have no regrets, because a time will come when I have to finish, and I will miss it.
You've been part of the Chennai Super Kings for several seasons. How do you see your growth as a player there?
I think I can officially say that Chennai Super Kings have made my career. Whatever it is today, is because of the success I had there, how I learnt the game a lot more there. The coaching staff, including Stephen Fleming and captain MS Dhoni, is excellent, the owners put no pressure on the players, and the team they recruit is very good. It is just like a family.
My biggest fan base is in Chennai and I enjoy representing that city and franchise. I would like to finish my career there.
MS Dhoni has been recently omitted from India's T20I squads. He looked in great nick during the IPL 2018 at CSK - do you think his T20I career is over?
No. Someone like him can never be over until he decides it's over. There are always talks around, and people call for different players' heads at different times. It is up to the player. I think MS has proven, even in this year's IPL he has proven, again and again, that he is still the best in the world and he will decide when it is his time. No one decides when it is his time.