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Carlos Brathwaite: The Unyielding Warrior

Celebrating the birthday of an Unyielding Warrior of the Cricket; Carlos Brathwaite on 18th July. Let us take a look at a few of his unforgetful moments in cricket.

DT
Last updated: 18.07.2019
Carlos Brathwaite: The Unyielding Warrior | Sports Social Blog

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Few cricketers have entered their debut World T20 and ended up being on the winning side.

 

It didn’t happen to bigwigs like Gayle, Ntini, Kallis, or even Brett Lee, all of whom played the T20 World Cup in 2007.

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Even fewer have played a direct hand in their team lifting the tournament.

 

For as long as he plays international cricket, no matter what he does- whether he scores tons of hundreds, takes a series of fifers or continues to hit countless sixes, Carlos Brathwaite shall be remembered as the man who played a decisive hand in the final of a World T20, the first of his career.


 

To a team with no dearth of match-winners, Carlos Brathwaite came out of nowhere in 2016 and made a name for himself thrashing Ben Stokes to all parts of the picturesque Eden Gardens as he exulted like a beast to celebrate his four back to back sixes.

 

Calcutta was on its feet as was India as were the West Indies. Even as a more experienced Marlon Samuels was unbeaten at the other end, playing a vital hand, it was a young man unbeknownst to many who painted the headlines.

 

The equation wasn’t any easy.

 

From 49 needed off 28, the Windies capitulated to 19 required of 6 before Brathwaite cut loose.

 

Moreover, his wasn’t an ordinary team.

 

It was a pantheon of big-hitting machines in Russell, Bravo, Sammy, and who else but Chris Gayle. Yet, all of them were in the dugout as the fate rested on the broad shoulders of a young Barbadian with a name as long as his frame.

 

But it must be said; it’s taken him some time before he was able to finally convince the world that there was more to him than that mighty six-hitting evening evidenced at breezy Calcutta. 

 

After all, which active cricketer would like to be addressed solely in reference to a feat that happened in the past?

 

Gayle, who’s still going strong isn’t merely remembered for his first ball six in Test cricket, right? Do you only remember AB de Villiers with the fastest ODI ton of all time or do you also reminisce his innovative pounding of Steyn in that IPL game or that fantastic 169 against Australia in Tests?

 

Would you care to remember Dravid only for his 270 as captain against Pakistan? Don’t we also remember ‘The Wall’ for his final-ever tour to England, in 2011?

 

But 3 long years passed before Carlos Brathwaite- who went from being a tall, brooding all-rounder caught up in that vintage T20 effort into being a West Indian mainstay in white-ball cricket- got a move on.

 

And guess what?

 

He chose yet another World cup stage to prove his naysayers that there was more to him than the World T20 exploits.

 

The events of June 22, 2019, may not be forgotten anytime soon.


Once again, Carlos Brathwaite stood tall whilst his West Indies collapsed yet again all around him.

 

In being asked to chase down a daunting 292, it shouldn’t have taken the West Indies to indulge in a series of suicidal strokeplay that saw both well-set batsmen- Hetmyer and Gayle- flirting with good deliveries to put to an end to a partnership that seemed ever so capable to take them over the line.

 

As Hetmyer attempted a wild hoic on a slower one from Ferguson only to see West Indies go from 20 for 2 to 142 for 3, Gayle followed a few deliveries later, going airborne needlessly to offer catching practice to the outfielder.

 

He had made 87 but.

 

Meanwhile, Brathwaite arrived into the middle of a somewhat silent, somewhat sullen Old Trafford. The scoreboard read 152/5. Another 140 to get and those against whom it were to be collected were Boult, Henry, Ferguson, and Neesham.

 

Never any easy, right?

 

But by the time the lanky right-hander departed with an over to go, the West Indies had recovered mightily well, their backs no longer pushed to the wall as Jason Holder’s team stood a whisker away from what might have been an incredible win.

 

But it wasn’t to be.

 

Cricketing battles aren’t fought on the pitch alone. Some take them to the mind-field when the contest is over.

 

Truth is, it might take Carlos Brathwaite years and years together to get over the predicament whether what he should’ve done was to have simply taken out a single on the last ball of the 49th to retain strike for the final 6 deliveries?


 

Only 5 were needed. A boundary toward the vast open spaces, square on the off side or toward deep mid-wicket would’ve made things easier.

 

Yet what he chose was a huge hit on Neesham that landed a few inches from the ropes, safely into the hands of Trent Boult.

 

But make no mistake. As Ian Bishop had put it so succinctly, he ‘rescued a dead game and made it alive.’

 

In scoring a glorious hundred, a world cup hundred rather, Brathwaite consumed only 82 deliveries to strike 101 runs. He didn’t accumulate; he pounded those runs.

 

He brought the often-cheery Gayle into the gallery at Manchester, the big man’s hands tucked inside the shorts.

 

He would strike 5 of the 13 sixes that his Windies hit.

 

And oddly enough, of his 82 deliveries, 38 ended up as dots.

 

Do the math and you realize how this lower-order batsman transformed an utterly torrid contest into an almost match-winning occasion.

 

You realize it would take him only 44 balls to launch into his hundred. But not all strokes were signed by brute power. There were gentle nudges down the legs. There were glorious cover drives off Ferguson.

 

Something separated the new Carlos Brathwaite- a man who wanted to overcome risks, a bloke who wanted to hang out there instead of just throwing bat around- from the 2016 one.

 

Someone wanted to extend the West Indies a lifeline. Someone wanted to prove desperately that not only could he strike for vital wickets, break partnerships steaming in with his long hoppy run-up but also form partnerships, an attribute often missing in the tall order of big-hitting monsters in the Windies line-up.

 

As Carlos Brathwaite, who’s written a new by-line of his career- but not before enduring rather ordinary 2018- a year wherein he scored only 65 runs from 12 T20s, 24 from 5 ODIs but bowled at an economy of 4.1- turns 31, a world of expectations lies ahead of him.

 

Together with Holder, he can be a crucial wicket-taking all rounder in the middle overs. When the batting collapses with an action-packed top and middle order collapsing, the Bajan can tow the line and chip in usefully.

 

When there’ll be extended pressure on Gabriel and Roach, Brathwaite will be the guy Holder would turn to, to support him.

 

The question isn’t whether Carlos Brathwaite can stay true to all these responsibilities. The point is whether he’d take the 2019 World Cup as a key lesson that he can stay true to all the above?

 


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