Apart from handing out fat pay cheques to players, bringing back crowds to stadiums and increasing the popularity of franchise cricket, Twenty20 leagues across the world have forced professional cricketers to look past their differences and even develop friendships while sharing dressing rooms.
Two days after West Indies and Australia fought tooth and nail in a heated contest that was marked by exchange of words before and after the game, all-rounder Dwayne Bravo implied that the mushrooming of T20 cricket leagues had made it easier for players to bury the hatchet.
“Today morning, I was having a chat with (Brad) Haddin, (Aaron) Finch and (David) Warner about the Big Bash League. Speaking for myself, we are all good friends off the cricket field. I play a lot with them in the Big Bash. That game (World T20) was really heated. We really needed to win. We were better placed in the group than them, but the comments before the game were played up a bit,” Bravo said.
When asked if it would be tough to play in the same T20 team (IPL/Big Bash) after the bad blood between the sides, Bravo said that the familiarity between the players would allow them to let bygones be just that.
“At the hotel, we see each other and meet each other and have a quick chat. We may not be best of friends or go out for dinner. We play together for the Big Bash and the IPL and some of them come and play in the Caribbean Premier League too. With all these leagues in the world, you end up developing a better relationship. Look at the India-West Indies games, the relationship is like one love and it’s like one country playing. Thanks to IPL, it allows that. It’s a good thing for international cricketers. Apart from money, it also brings you closer to another cricketer from another country and you become friends,” Bravo added.
Talking about the celebrations after what is so far being talked about as the match of the tournament, which was preceded by a comment from Australian all-rounder James Faulkner that he ‘did not particularly like the West Indians’, Bravo said that while the team enjoyed the win the players were focussed on advancing in the tournament.
“Not a long party. We did some stuff in the dressing room. It was an exciting game for us. We were really pumped up for that game. We were pumped up for all the games, but that game was more special for us. We enjoyed the victory and celebrated in the dressing room. We came back to the hotel and had a look at the India-Bangladesh game in the hotel.”
The West Indies, who have beaten Bangladesh and Australia but have lost to India, will have to win their final game against Pakistan on Tuesday to stay alive in the tournament.
“It’s always good to win games especially against opponents you respect a lot. And it’s always nice to finish the games that run so close. It shows that you have fighting spirit and a never-say-die attitude. We just look to get better and better every game. We want to have a look at the things we can improve on and analyse our strengths and weaknesses and improve the areas that we are short in. We enjoyed our victory against Australia, but the Pakistan game is the most important for us. We need to win that game and get to the semifinals first.”
Windies mourn U-19 player’s death
Mirpur: West Indian players paid homage to Trinidad and Tobago Under-19 left-arm pacer Tevin Robertson, who was killed in a car accident, by observing two minutes of silence before a training session at the World T20 on Sunday. “Yesterday as we were watching the England versus South Africa game, myself, Narine, Rampaul, Ramdin, Badree (all T&T players) got the news through a text message and we were in shock. We can’t actually believe that a life has gone just like that. I wish his family all the best on behalf of the West Indies cricket team. We are all sad that we can’t be at home for his funeral. It’s a sad loss,” Bravo said.