Sports

Is vintage Carlos Brathwaite here to stay?

BY SANJAY MYERS
Senior staff reporter
myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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MANCHESTER, England — “Remember the name!”

Those were the words television commentator Ian Bishop shouted after West Indies cricketer Carlos Brathwaite stunned England and the rest of the world with four consecutive sixes in the 2016 Twenty20 World Cup final in India.

Since then Brathwaite got nowhere close to that marker, and gradually some people stopped expecting it, and maybe some even started to forget.

Until Saturday.

Against New Zealand at Old Trafford in the 50-over World Cup, the 30-year-old brought back memories of Kolkata while thrashing nine fours and five sixes in a 82-ball 101 that brought West Indies back from the dead, and just five runs short of a highly unlikely win.

Though the all-rounder's spellbinding knock didn't bring the result that West Indies fans begged for, it did highlight his batting quality and show what he can bring to the team.

“Obviously, I haven't reached the heights that I know I can, or that I know I should, for a number of different reasons, but I never stopped working,” Brathwaite told journalists after the game.

“It's obviously bitter-sweet, I know it's probably cliché to say the hundred doesn't matter if you don't win, but for me personally, for my confidence, I guess it was a result of all the hard work that I've been putting in.

“It's good it's finally come to fruition and I'll continue to work hard, though I'm obviously devastated we didn't get over the line. but also giving thanks for the performance, and getting the team into the position we got into before I got out,” he said.

Brathwaite has not been a sure pick for the West Indies in any of the formats, usually making way for other similar all-rounders in the region.

He has played the same number of games — 38 — in One-Day International and T20I cricket, constantly in and out of both set-ups.

He has represented the West Indies in only three Tests since debuting in 2015, the last coming three years ago. The big all-rounder has taken only one wicket in the game's longest format but has a batting average of 45.25 to go with three half-centuries.

Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, conceded that more consistency is needed from Brathwaite as well as the rest of the team.

“I guess everybody could sit here and agree that we'd love to see that a little bit more often, but that's the general feeling within the entire group. I think as a team we just need to be a lot more consistent. But, yeah, seeing Carlos play the way he did doesn't really surprise me,” he told reporters during a post-game interview.

“His work ethic is really good. He's not one to shy away from his responsibilities, and he puts in a really good effort into his preparation,” Holder noted.

Recalling the pressure involved and what was at stake on Saturday, Brathwaite said he was desperate to win the game for his teammates, the coaching staff, as well as the fans.

“I knew how much everyone in the dressing room wanted it, I knew how much Floyd Reifer, as the coach, wanted it.

“There were a lot of fans that came, a lot of fans that travelled from around the UK to see us. So the fact we could entertain them the way we did — obviously we'd have loved to get over the line to let them get some bragging rights in front of the office [the next day]. That never happened. but yeah, at the end of the day it's a century in a losing cause,” Brathwaite said.


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