PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Left-hander Darren Bravo has been included in a Trinidad and Tobago Red Force 13-man squad for the fourth-round Regional first-class match against Jamaica Scorpions, putting the exiled star one step closer to a Test return.
The 29-year-old has not played domestic first class in nearly three years following an impasse with Cricket West Indies (CWI), which also left him sidelined from international cricket for two years.
He only returned to the Caribbean side last October for the Twenty20 tour of India before also being included for the limited-overs series in Bangladesh a month later.
Bravo has not played a Test, however, since the series against Pakistan in late 2016, after he was sent home ahead of the Tri-Nations Series in Zimbabwe for an ill-advised Twitter rant aimed at CWI president Dave Cameron.
And even though CWI announced in July 2017 that Bravo was “available with immediate effect to play in all forms of cricket”, the Trinidadian continued to ply his trade in the myriad of T20 leagues across the globe.
With England arriving in the Caribbean this week for a full series of three Tests, five One-Day Internationals and three T20s, Bravo’s presence in Red Force’s squad is likely to be a precursor to his selection in the Test squad.
Despite his absence, Bravo remains the region’s most accomplished Test batsman with an average of 40 — the highest by any current player — along with eight hundreds.
Red Force will welcome his return, especially considering their wretched start to the season where they have lost both matches.
And with the batting under the microscope after being dismissed for 96 in their second innings on Monday as they crashed to a heavy 245-run defeat to Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Red Force head coach Kelvin Williams said Bravo would provide an immediate boost.
“I expect that he would come in and shoulder some of the batting with Jeremy,” Williams said.
“We need somebody like Darren. We hope that he could fit the bill because of the batting problems that we’re having at this present time.”
Test speedster Shannon Gabriel, who bowled with pace in his first match of the season against Hurricanes to finish with six wickets, has been left out, with Jamaican paceman Odean Smith included.
SQUAD — Denesh Ramdin (captain), Kyle Hope, Jeremy Solozano, Amir Jangoo, Jason Mohammed, Joshua Da Silva, Yannic Cariah, Imran Khan, Khary Pierre, Odean Smith, Daniel St Clair, Anderson Philip, Darren Bravo.