All-rounder Carlos Brathwaite, who has become an overnight hero, has said, “everything we do is for the betterment of West Indies.” Brathwaite’s comments echoed the emotional address from West Indies captain Darren Sammy, who expressed disappointment that his players had not received the support during their successful World T20 campaign.
Brathwaite has taken three wickets that restricted England for 155 and with the bat in the last over he hit four sixes off Ben Stokes to win the second World T20 for West Indies. West Indies needed 19 runs from the last over. Brathwaite was playing his first big tournament , launched sixes over long leg, long on, long off and a deep mid-wicket off the first four balls to complete one of the greatest finishes in the game.
“Most of the nations have more resources than we do, but we have natural talent,” Brathwaite, 27, told ESPN Caribbean. “It has been said we don’t have brains, that we don’t harness our talent, that we do things off the field that contribute to poor on-field success. But I just want to say being around these guys, that everything we do on and off the field is for the betterment of West Indies, not just the team but also cricket and the region in general.”
“It was a little nerve-wracking, to be honest, I just tried to stay focused, use my cue words, watch the ball and take some pressure off Marlon,” Brathwaite said. “It would have been too hard to give him a single and expect him to do it all. I just had to bite the bullet and try to get a couple of boundaries, which fortunately I did, give God thanks for bringing it home for the people in West Indies.
“After the third six, I just backed myself, go hard, if it goes in the air I knew Marlon would finish it but I knew I had to be there as close to the end as possible. We continued to back ourselves, back our strength and our strength is hitting boundaries. Once we knew it was manageable we knew we could do it.
“I just want to say a special mention to everyone in Sergeant’s Village, my family, my friends and especially to Mr. Erroll Edie, the master bat-maker from the Caribbean. He made this special beauty for me to use in the World Cup and he told me, ‘Carlos, go out there and smash ’em’. Erroll, I did, and now we are world champions.”
Watching from the other end, as Brathwaite brought the trophy home, was Marlon Samuels, who had kept the chase alive with an unbeaten 85 off 66 balls as the top and middle order fell around him. Brathwaite gave his senior team-mate due credit.
“It’s us against the world and someone needed to take responsibility. And today Marlon Samuels after a slow start took responsibility and played a fantastic knock,” Brathwaite told Star Sports. “That was an amazing man, I wish I could use some expletives on TV to really express how much of a top knock that was. He did it in 2010, and I knew if Samuels was there, in the end, he’ll bring us home in 2016. It was a matter of when and not if.”
Meanwhile, Brathwaite left a message for devastated Ben Stokes. Stokes has played outstanding cricket for England for the last couple of months. But, he failed to defend 19 runs against a batsman who was playing his first WT20 and not a big name in international cricket. But Brathwaite has thrown his support to the English all-rounder.
He was asked whether he has little fleeing for Ben Stokes, Brathwaite said, “yes”. “Ben Stokes is an absolute legend in his own right. You shouldn’t forget what he has done for England in the last couple of months. Cricket is a cruel game, and a lot of people can be on him, but just remember Stuart Broad was smashed for six sixes by Yuvraj Singh, and his career has gone on the up ever since. To Ben , tough luck last night, commiserations to you and the England team . Wish he has a long journey and a successful career ahead of him.”