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Media Monitor: CPL interview in lieu of review; DJB locks horns with the cricketing media 

Who loves the spotlight more than internationally renowned cricketer-cum-entertainer with a growing reputation, Trinbago Knight Riders skipper Dwayne Bravo? And, after his team secured a historic second successive CPL title at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy last Sunday, DJB was in his element, the toast of Tarouba.

However, the media did not always show DJB in a favourable light throughout the course of the 2018 season. The negativity was particularly severe on social media after TKR flew out for their five away matches with their fans uneasy about the team’s ability to get past the group stage.

Photo: TKR captain Dwayne Bravo (centre) celebrates with bowler Kevon Cooper (left) after their CPL Eliminator win against SKNP at the Brian Lara Academy in Tarouba on 14 September 2018.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

In the end, Bravo and his boys did. But is the skipper happy with the support he has got from the local conventional media? Who apart from DJB can say for certain? No one. But those who have followed the CPL closely might have a god shot at it because they have necessarily had to be inside the skipper’s head.

So today, we imagine the captain of the CPL champions face-to-face with his critics in a post-match media conference of the sort that basketball, golf and tennis, for example, make compulsory for major players. Asking the media representatives to identify their media house before asking their question and announcing that there will be no follow-up questions allowed, the CPL’s media host gets the ball rolling:

CNC3: Dwayne, congratulations on your team’s successful defence of the CPL title. I think you will agree that, although it turned out well in the end, it was not a season without downsides. 

Two back-to-back games lost at home early on, two more lost in Guyana, again back-to-back, a dip in team performance levels towards the end, injuries to Darren Bravo and Sunil Narine, etc, etc.…

Put the season into perspective for us from where you stand. Do you really think the best team won in the end? I imagine the prevailing sentiment is joy but is there some relief in there as well? 

Photo: Trinbago Knight Riders supporters make a point during the CPL final against the Guyana Amazon Warriors at the Brian Lara Academy in Tarouba on 16 September 2018.
(Copyright Nicholas Bhajan/CA-Images/Wired868)

Imaginary DJB: Of course—to both questions! I’m happy to be sitting here as the winning captain. I’m also relieved that this is the last time for a while that I will be sitting here having to deal with you reporters and your lack of confidence in me and my team and your doom and gloom.

What else do we have to do to prove to you that TKR is the best team in the CPL? And not by a little bit either!

Express: I think many people were favourably impressed by the two Warriors players who defied you in Providence, Shimron Hetmyer and Sherfane Rutherford, and by the Tallawahs’ Oshane Thomas 

Those three apart, have you spotted any other player or players you think you want to keep your eyes on?

IDJB: No, that’s it. Just those three. Oshane looks to be a very good West Indies prospect; he has pace and control and his height makes it easy for him to make batsmen uncomfortable. We are glad that the Tallawahs handled him for us in the Eliminator.

As for the other two giving us trouble in Providence, here’s what I told my team before today’s game: (singing à la Voice) “Fawad go bun dem, Fawad go bun dem.”

And this is what I told each of them to their face also today: (breaking into song again) “Yuh eh no batsman, boy, nah. Yuh eh no batsman, boy!”

Photo: Guyana Amazon Warriors batsman Shimron Hetmyer (right) plays at a delivery during 2018 CPL action against TKR.
(Copyright CPL T20 Ltd 2018)

Of course, I was playing with their heads. You can see that, with Sherfane, there is raw talent there. But it needs time to develop into the kind of dependable asset that we have in TKR. I expect him to become a player who will make his mark at international level as well.

But he—and his fans—still have some time to wait while he matures.

As for Shimron, he has already proved himself at West Indies level. I think you will agree that in this year’s tournament he certainly reinforced the good impression people have of him as a potential number three West Indies batsman. Frankly, I think the load he had to carry in the Guyana Amazon Warriors this year was simply too heavy for a player of his limited experience.

I feel certain he will one day come good in the final and take his team over the line.

Not in 2018, though, and probably never against TKR!

i95.5fm: Since you mention Fawad Ahmed, suppose next year at draft time TKR was given a choice between Fawad and Shadab Khan, which would you choose and why?

IDJB: Fortunately for me, lady, that decision is not mine. If someone asked my advice, I would have to think very carefully about my answer. But we’re ent reach there yet so point crossing dat bridge…

Photo: Trinbago Knight Riders spinner Fawad Ahmed prepares to bowl during the CPL final against GAW at the Brian Lara Academy in Tarouba on 16 September 2018.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Newsday: Since we’re talking next year, Dwayne, are you satisfied that, if Brendon McCullum decided to call it quits between now and the start of next season, your chances of retaining the title would be just as good next year as they were this year?

IDJB: See what I mean? Like stick break in yuh ears, brudder. Let me say it loud and clear so everybody could hear: TKR is the best team in the CPL because TKR is NOT a one-man team; never was, never will be.

Brendon McCallum is a very important member of our team and we hope he will play for the next ten years. But Brendon McCullum is NOT our team.

Editor’s note: Part Two of Wired868’s fictitious DJB ‘ínterview’ will be carried on Tuesday 25 September.

About Earl Best

Earl Best
Earl Best taught cricket, French, football and Spanish at QRC for many years and has written consistently for the Tapia and the Trinidad and Tobago Review since the 1970's. He is also a former sports editor at the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Express and is now a senior lecturer in Journalism at COSTAATT.

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