Brathwaite longing for first Test win as West Indies captain

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By Akeem Greene

Of the active West Indies Test cricketers, Kraigg Brathwaite’s 64 matches are the most by a player.

And while he has found a way to succeed as an opener, his returns as interim Test captain have been far from successful. He is hoping his third tour to Bangladesh can break the jinx.

Between 2017-2019, the Barbadian led West Indies, in the absence of Jason Holder, in five Tests, and lost all.

He was the captain on the last tour (2018/19) to Bangladesh, where the hosts dominated the visitors in the two Tests. The Test specialist last led the Caribbean side in February 2019, against England in St. Lucia.

His ascension back to the post of leadership is a curious case since he was replaced as the long-standing Vice-captain by Roston Chase for the last series to New Zealand. The move was geared to allow him to focus more on his batting, which was going through a lean patch.

The Test opener wants to lead from the front with the bat (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)

Chase is among several of the senior players who opted not tour Bangladesh due to COVID-19 concerns, which makes Brathwaite the ‘go-to man’ again, and this time he wants to make it count with a tick in the ‘W’ column.

“Leading a team, you want to win; my role here I just want to lead from the front both as the captain and with the bat, and yeah it would be great to get that Test win under the belt,” he stated in response to a question from News Room Sport at Wednesday’s Virtual press brief.

“We got to start hour by hour, we can’t think too far ahead, we got to plan first and then we got to go and execute. So once we take it step by step, the end result will take care of itself. Yes, I am looking forward to getting that first Test win, but it is steps to get there so once we take those steps and put in the work initially, I know this team will do well here and win.”

Winning will be a tough task for West Indies, as with a more capped unit on the previous tour, they lost the first Test by an innings and 184 runs and the second by 64 runs.

The dogged opener, whose greatest attribute on the field is patience, is far from the vociferous characters on the field and said it is something he will look to address in his style of leadership.

“I always speak to players and I don’t think nothing much will change. As captain, you obviously got to speak more, so naturally that will happen as a leader. I still see myself as a leader despite I am not [full-time] captain.”

He added, “I still think we have some senior players around that can give guidance. I know the majority of the guys from Under-19s and regional cricket so it won’t be anything that I am not familiar with in speaking to them. I look forward to it with this team, it is a good team and I look forward to the challenge and leading.”

February 2019 against England in the Caribbean was the last time Brathwaite captained West Indies in a Test; he is still searching for a first win (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images,)

The 28-year-old said he is up for the challenge, noting he will tap into the reservoir of knowledge from regular skipper Jason Holder before the series.

His fellow countryman has led in 37 Tests since appointment in 2015 and has lost 21 of those matches, winning 11 wins and drawing five.

Additionally, while the squads have copped the ‘second string’ label, the interim skipper felt it is a not true reflection of the talent and it is a big opportunity for the players.

“I know the guys are hungry to get success…I could see the opportunity and they will grab it. The word for this tour is opportunity, so I know these guys will be raring to go and hungry for that success and willing to show the world that they can do the job and they are not just filling a spot.”

Wednesday marked the final day of the three-day isolation after the entire 38-member contingent returned negative COVID-19 results. They were tested twice.

Players will begin training Thursday in the ‘bubble’ as preparations begin for the first of the three One-Day internationals on January 20.

The first of the two Tests start on February 3.

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