Bravo hails Rutherford among region’s best; says management critical
Veteran all-rounder Dwayne Bravo believes Sherfane Rutherford can be a precious asset to West Indies cricket and has urged authorities not to allow the dashing left-hander to become lost to the region.
The 23-year-old Rutherford played the last of his six Twenty20 Internationals 20 months ago but has not found himself in the selection frame since, with West Indies currently preparing to defend their title at the T20 World Cup in October.
With the Guyanese hitting two half-centuries in his first three innings of the ongoing Caribbean Premier League for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, however, Bravo said the player needed to be carefully managed so the region could benefit from his talents.
“Sherfane is up there with (Nicholas) Pooran and Hetty (Shimron Hetmyer) and these guys so we can’t afford to lose him,” said Bravo, who is leading Patriots for the first time this season.
“He’s somebody that’s very [important]. I asked him what number he wanted to bat [in the last game] and he said number five but the way the game progressed, it gave him the opportunity to go in there and play [with] his natural ability.”
Rutherford slammed an unbeaten 58 off 34 deliveries last Sunday as Patriots defeated Guyana Amazon Warriors by six wickets to remain the only unbeaten side in the campaign.
His knock followed on the heels of 53 in Patriots’ opener last week in a 21-run win over Barbados Royals.
On both occasions, Rutherford shared vital partnerships with Bravo, putting on 115 for the fifth wicket against Royals and 72 for the fourth wicket against Amazon Warriors.
While Rutherford’s four innings in T20 Internationals have yielded only 43 runs, he has been busy plying his trade in various franchise leagues across the globe.
And Bravo, one of the finest ever T20 all-rounders with 6 498 runs and 533 wickets from 493 games, said providing the right environment for players like Rutherford was critical.
“He has all the talent, it’s just to make sure we guide these youngsters properly and give them confidence,” Bravo explained. “There’s not much more I can do [other] than give them opportunities and confidence.”
Left-arm seamer Dominic Drakes has also shown great signs of improvement under Bravo’s leadership in the tournament, the 23-year-old taking five wickets at 14 runs apiece and an economy rate of just under six, to lead the attack.
And Bravo stressed both Drakes and Rutherford were responding well to advice and the culture inside the Patriots camp.
“I’m just talking to them trying to guide them. These guys have a lot of talent,” Bravo pointed out.
“I played with Sherfane in T10, I saw what he did for Guyana a few years ago.
“It’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to play with Drakes but he played for Queen’s Park a few years ago.
“It’s just about guidance, encouraging them, getting them to believe, giving them opportunities – that’s what it’s all about.” (CMC)