Gayle’s presence a big boost to team — Bravo

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ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) — As the West Indies prepare to face England in the crucial third Colonial Medical Insurance One-Day International against England here today, batsman Darren Bravo has credited Chris Gayle for the team’s performance thus far.

The ninth-ranked Windies defeated the top-ranked visitors by 26 runs at Kensington Oval on Friday to tie the five-match series at 1-1.

While Bravo said the victory was a result of a team effort, he said Gayle’s presence in the dressing room had lifted the spirits of all the players.

“Think the fact that Chris is back there on top, his experience in the dressing room is priceless. He puts a smile on each and every player’s face and, as you can see when we go out there, we really enjoy our cricket.

“In the dressing room he’s always giving information. If you remember before the start of the game, he was chatting at nine in the evening with Nicholas Pooran about batting and stuff. He’s helping all the youngsters. We’re happy to have him and hopefully, he’ll get another 100 tomorrow [Monday],” Bravo said.

“He’s definitely a hero, not even a hero — he’s a legend. If you look at the stats he’s achieved a lot at international level. he’s a special player. We’re really happy to have him. He’s getting on a bit in age but he’s still striking the ball nicely, so that is the most important thing.”

The experienced Bravo said the victory at Kensington Oval had given the side a huge boost of confidence.

He said the players were now confident they could go on to defeat England and win the series.

“Actually, winning a game against the best One-Day team in the world is also a great feeling that will give us confidence. so we’re looking forward to the encounter tomorrow,” Bravo said.

“Everyone is good, we’re all fit and healthy to go. We’re going to be coming up against a very good unit once more so hopefully we go out there tomorrow and put on a very good show. We’re quietly confident that we can beat them but we know it’s not going to be easy. As we all know they are the best One-Day team in the world so we just want to go out there and do the basics right and I think the win in Barbados will give us the confidence that is necessary moving forward.”

If selected to play on Monday it will be Bravo’s 100th ODI for the West Indies.

Despite a lengthy absence away from the regional team, Bravo said he always believed he would achieve the milestone.

“I was quietly confident that I would be back. It’s a great feeling indeed to achieve 100 games, but I have to wait and see if I’m selected tomorrow, but hopefully I can contribute to a winning cause here in Grenada,” he said.

“So far in the ODI series I feel I’m playing pretty well. In the first game I had a particular plan which I executed really well. In the second game we lost a couple of wickets so someone had to consolidate, and I thought I did that pretty well. Unfortunately I got out, but Hetty [Shimron Hetmyer] and myself had a plan to take the score to 200 by the 40th over and try to get to 300 by the 50th. He went on to get another One-Day hundred and was playing well. He put us in a good position. The guys did well — Cottrell was exceptional, the captain led from the front, Bishoo created chances… it was a total team effort.”

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