CHENNAI: There has been a lot of speculation over whether MS Dhoni — he had last played in the World Cup earlier this year — will be playing in the T20 World Cup. Meanwhile, Dwayne Bravo, who has played under Dhoni at Chennai Super Kings, has no doubt that the former India captain will be there next year.
“Dhoni has never retired. So I think he will be there at the World T20. MS has never let things outside cricket influence him and he has taught us the same and told us to never panic and trust our abilities,” said Bravo.
On the personal front, the former West Indies one-day international captain has decided to come out of T20 international retirement and said that he will be available for selection in the lead-up to the West Indies’ T20 World Cup title defence.
The T20 World Cup will be held in Australia next October.
“I feel good physically and I still have a lot to offer. I had retired because of off-field politics. But there is a change of leadership both on and off the field. So I felt that it is a good time to come back.
“This is a very talented, vibrant and young side. If the talent of these youngsters can be managed properly and seniors like Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and I can return to the squad, we can be world beaters again,” Bravo, who had retired from all formats of the game last year, told TOI on Friday.
In the recently-concluded T20I series against India, West Indies players showed flashes of brilliance before their challenge fizzled out in the decider.
Bravo, who is a proven performer under tough conditions, said that the team needs to give the youngsters a longer rope. He feels that the team is headed in the right direction under captain Kieron Pollard and coach Phil Simmons.
“Pollard knows how to inspire players. What Pollard and Simmons have ensured is that they have given plenty of freedom to youngsters. There is room to make mistakes and learn from them. This freedom to express themselves is making the youngsters play a fearless brand of cricket and that is the way forward. We have decent pacers and exuberant batsmen too. What they need is game-time and guidance,” Bravo said.
The 36-year-old all-rounder was part of both the teams that won the World T20 titles in Sri Lanka in 2012 and in India in 2016. He said that he will have to shoulder more responsibility once he gets back into the side.
“There are 19 or 20 T20Is scheduled for us ahead of the World T20. So I will have time to prepare myself. I left when we were a successful T20 team. We are re-building the side. So I am not going there to be a hero. Instead, I am going to contribute to the team’s cause. There is a lot of responsibility and I have matured too. So it will be a good challenge for me,” the all-rounder stated.
Even though Bravo has been plying his trade in different T20 tournaments all over the world, he encouraged players to take Test cricket seriously.
“I am a calm person by nature, so pressure doesn’t fluster me. I thrive on challenges and back my abilities. But it is because of Test cricket. It builds your foundation. When you are facing tough situations in T20s, you always fall back on the experience and stability which Test cricket gives you. Test cricket should be the No. 1 format and every youngster should aspire to play in the longer format,” he said.