One of West Indies’ vast arsenal of Twenty20 weapons and Brian Lara bat-a-like Darren Bravo is looking forward to a ding dong with the Aussies in the semi-final of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. He spoke to Ed Kemp on behalf of ESPNcricinfo.com ahead of what promises to be a thriller.
What’s the mood in the West Indies camp at the moment, Darren?
We are in a happy spirit at this point in time. It’s our first semi-final spot in a Twenty20 competition, the guys are really excited about our semi-final against Australia, and I’m sure when we go out onto the field we’re going to put on a fantastic show.
You don’t always get a bat in the middle order in Twenty20 games. How do you feel about your own form going into the game?
I’m quietly confident. I’ve been working very hard on my game in the nets, I was able to get a feel out in the middle against New Zealand, so that’s a positive in itself. It’s a matter of me – if selected – just going out there and expressing myself in the best possible way and try and execute my role, and as a team trying to execute our game plan in the best possible way.
What are they key factors to the game against the Aussies?
I think it’s very important we start well. It’s going to be a very challenging match, Australia always come hard at us, but I think I’m going to be concentrating on what it is we have to do and understand our own point of view, execute our gameplans. We can’t control what the Australians are going to do, we can control our own game, we need to just believe in ourselves, step out onto the field and give it our all.
Who are the big threats in the Aussie team?
Watson and Warner do a fantastic job at the top of the order, as well as Michael Hussey. I think it’s very important we get into the middle of the order as soon as possible. As long as we do that it’s going to be very beneficial for us – you can see when they played Pakistan they showed a little bit of vulnerability below their top three, so it’s important for us to look at that as an advantage. But in the end we’re just hoping to get one more run than Australia to carry us to the final.
What’s it like sharing a dressing room with Chris Gayle?
It’s fantastic. He’s always cracking a joke, or doing some kind of prank or something, it’s that sort of excitement he’s brought into the dressing room. Obviously he’s a leader, we look up to him as a leader. He’s very experienced, as a youngster you can go up to him any moment and ask for advice. We are very lucky to have him on our team, hopefully on Friday he can give us that wonderful start and set us up for a wonderful total, so that the bowlers can go out and defend against the Australians.
You had a brilliant start to your international career, but struggled a bit in Tests this year. How do you explain that?
To be quite honest I’m not really happy with my performances so far in the year. That is all part of the game: you have your ups and downs, it’s very important that you learn from your mistakes and that you learn very quickly. I started off well and had a good cricketing year last year, so it’s a matter of continuing believing in myself and just continuing to develop my game and once I get an opportunity and get a good start I have to make it count. Yes, it was a bit difficult, but that experience is going to serve me well for the future, I’m really happy to have been part of that tour.
Tests or Twenty20?
To be quite honest it’s a mental switch. You should be able to play all formats, it’s just a mental switch, it’s just a matter of understanding the situation of the game and you have to go and play your role.
You’re always compared with your cousin Brian Lara. Do you get bored with hearing people say you bat like him all the time?
The fact that people tend to say that about me is something I use to motivate me as well. It can be a bit of pressure but instead I use it as a motivating factor. Brian Lara is my role model ever since I was a kid, and still is, it’s definitely a dream come true to be representing the West Indies and hopefully I can do what Brian did.
Darren was speaking on behalf of ESPNcricinfo.com. ESPNcricinfo.com is delivering extensive World T20 coverage, online via a dedicated tournament section and on mobile and via a free new iPad app.