West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo had been a pivotal part of the Caribbean Premier League triumph last season with Trinbago Knight Riders as he looks to defend the title.
The league has attracted fans from all over the Caribbean islands as the sport is growing after few years. The West Indies triumph at the major tournaments this year also helps the sport to grow further which has lost its importance in the territory over the last few decades due to the management of WICB.
Bravo, who is a champion of World T20 and CPL, has been the most important player for the team as he scored 452 runs and took 47 wickets in his 31 match CPL career.
Heading into the 2016 Caribbean Premier League as champions Dwayne Bravo who was also Player of the tournament of CPL last year says, “It was a great feeling and a great atmosphere last year. Trinidad & Tobago is known as one of the most carnival-like atmospheres when it comes to cricket. We’re a very patriotic country where cricket is concerned and to play the finals on your home ground, and to also go on and win the finals, was a great achievement by the guys. The fans really get behind the team. We had a really good tournament last year, so we always enjoy playing at the Queen’s Park Oval, and last year the entire place was red and black. It was a crazy atmosphere! And to go out there and do it for the fans was very important, also because it was the first time for us to win the tournament was a great achievement.”
“It’s good to always contribute through the tournament, especially when you win tight you always want to note to yourself that you contributed heavily to your team’s success. Being the captain for the last three years, we got to the semi-finals, but we had never got to the final. Last year was a very good team achievement. The guys stuck together, we had a very steady team with the same (backroom) staff. It was good that I was able to perform well and lead my team to a final. But, you know, my success was only based on the other individuals. My younger brother (Darren) had a very good tournament, as did Jacques Kallis. The overseas players bring a different kind of professionalism towards the entire set-up, so collectively, as a team, we did well.”
Dwayne Bravo also feels that playing some of the matches of CPL in the USA would help the sport to grow and will popularize the game.
“It’s been a while now that a lot of people have tried to get cricket associated with America. It’s good that CPL takes that responsibility and take it over there. Let’s see, hopefully, we get good facilities and good conditions. It’s all well and good to say ‘Oh, cricket is in America’, but we need to have good facilities and the cricket needs to be good. And that’s the most important thing, that (the quality of) cricket is the selling brand, and that’s the selling brand of any sport. The guys are looking forward to it. It’s a great sport and let’s see how it goes.”
The player also calls for the home fans who have been a major strength for them last year as they won their maiden CPL title. With Shahrukh Khan buying a share in Trinidad & Tobago, now the franchise name has been changed to Trinbago Knight Riders.
“The fans were there with us, the journey was a long one last year and they reaped the benefits and saw the rewards with their support and how important it was for us as a team to go on and win the title. This year the first round is being played in our backyard and it’s very important that the fans will come out and support us. We have a branding change, in terms of (the) name, but at the same time, we still represent Trinidad & Tobago. The Trinbago Knight Riders is a very good name and I think everyone is looking forward to it. It’s a tournament that the entire country looks forward to and for us being defending champions, we’re going to defend our title. The champion is calling on all his fans, and all the TKR fans, to come out and support us and we cannot do it without their support. So, get your red, white and black – with a little purple – and come and support us!”