The Wired868 management felt that, in the run-up to Trinbago Knight Riders’ second qualifier against Chris Gayle’s St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, it would be a good idea to actually get inside the head of TKR captain Dwayne Bravo. But old habits die hard.
I was busy, time was short and so, as bad reporters are wont to try to do, I persuaded myself that Dwayne would be hard at work getting ready for today’s assignment.
The rest was easy. With DJB unavailable, I (EB) came up with the questions and got the answers from an alter ego (EDJB).
Here is the text of that “interview:”
Wired868: Dwayne, I see you have said that TKR will “bounce back.” Are you confident that you can bring home the bacon in tomorrow’s last-chance fixture against STKNP?
EDJB: (Smiling) You asking answers? (He extends both his arms in front of him at a 45o angle and begins to sing and dance) Champion, champion…
Wired868: Did your TKR take your foot off the pedal once your spot in the top two was safe? Why else would you have fielded a weakened team in the last group phase game against Guyana Amazon Warriors?
EDJB: I thought I had already answered that. It was a hectic season and we decided to give a couple of our players who have worked hard all season a well-deserved rest. If that is taking our foot off the pedal, then we are guilty as charged.
But I have to point out that it’s only an issue because the result meant so much to the opposition; for us, we are about what our results mean to TKR and we make no apologies for that.
Wired868: In the battle between GAW and Jamaica Tallawahs for the second spot in the group phase, did you have a preference?
EDJB: Of course! In sport, you always want the better man to win.
Wired868: So do you have any regrets about the way things have turned out?
Wired868: Some people have said that you should have used Colin Ingram’s spin in the qualifier against GAW?
EDJB: Ingram? You joking, right? As captain, I try to surprise the opposing team but there’s a limit. That was a critical stage of a serious competition. I don’t think it is a good idea to give a bowler his first over in a match of that importance—especially when the target is only 123 runs!
Rovman Powell bowled in this year’s CPL before last night’s match but he didn’t bowl before in that particular match—and he couldn’t defend nine runs in the last over!
Wired868: I’m glad you brought that up. In Sunday’s game, you failed to defend four runs. Do you think that, with GAW on 119 for 8 after the 19th over, you should have let Ali Khan bowl the last over? After all, you had conceded 40 runs off just 13 balls on Sunday…
EDJB: Perhaps…but if I had bowled my very best—only a single came off the first ball and the next three were dot balls—the question would not arise.
Wednesday, Dre Russ bowled three yorkers in over 18 and gave away just four runs. It’s easy to say now that he should have let Powell bowl number 18 and saved himself for number 20. But you willing to bet that if he did that there would still be an over number 20?
Having said that, I am the captain and I have to choose the best man for each job, big or small. That’s what I did—and I accept full responsibility for every decision I made, no matter how it turned out.
Wired868: So you don’t think you should have mixed spin and pace between overs two and 13 instead of bowling out the spinners? Don’t you think you should have saved two of Sunil Narine’s overs for the death?
EDJB: I did what I thought was best at the time and in the circumstances; that is what captains do. If you wanted something else done, you should get a team that you can captain.
Wired868: In the eliminator between JT and STKNP, did you have a preference?
EDJB: Sure. I was hoping all four of Gayle and Evin Lewis and Russell and Powell get serious hamstring injuries!
Seriously, we are professional cricketers. It is our job to go out there and put out our best no matter what the conditions, no matter what the opposition. So my position was this: may the better team win because they are going to lose anyway when they meet us.
Wired868: Do you have a plan for Gayle and Lewis? You know if they get off, your job will be harder…
EDJB: Eh-eh! I hope St Kitts paying you big money as a spy, brother, but yuh outta luck.
Wired868: Do you think using Narine to open has worked for you this season? Do you plan to continue with him at the top of the order?
EDJB: Buh eh-eh, yuh doh give up! TKR leaves nothing to chance. We will do whatever we think is best on the day and in the prevailing conditions.
Wired868: Does it bother you that your top batsmen, Colin Munro, Brendon McCullum and Darren Bravo, have not been performing anywhere near as well in the last few matches as they were earlier in the season?
EDJB: Wasn’t it you who said that the time to be in front is at the end?
But show me a team that does not have a bad day or two and I’ll show you a team that is into match-fixing. At TKR, we choose our roster carefully and then we work our butts off to be in the best possible form and to peak at the right time.
It’s not magic, it’s not obeah; it’s hard work that pays dividends. But in cricket, especially T20 cricket, you also need luck. And, as somebody said a long time ago, the harder you practise, the luckier you get.
Wired868: So are you saying you have been unlucky, which is why your recent results have not quite been what one might have expected?
EDJB: Doh try dat, trying to put words in my mouth! I arong too long! What I have to tell you is this: as a captain, you could have a lucky streak but winning the toss doesn’t mean winning the match.
And in the end, I will win as much toss as the next captain. Write that!
Wired868: So are you worried about what the TKR fans will say if TKR does not win and retain the title?
EDJB: My back is very broad. I have been down here long enough to know that you win some and you lose some. We will do our very best to win. Tomorrow and Sunday.
If we do, you and all the rest of our supporters will be happy. If we don’t, you and the supporters will find a convenient scapegoat. ‘Captain’ and ‘scapegoat’ are synonyms; check your dictionary.
And while you at it, check (arms outstretched, he launches into his song and dance again) Champion, champion…