KOLKATA, India – West Indies batsman Darren Bravo said he valued the half-century he scored against Uttar Pradesh on Thursday here, for one important reason.
Bravo was one of the four West Indies left-handers that crossed the 50-run threshold, as the visitors piled up 333 for four in their first innings when bad light stopped play half-hour after the scheduled close with 11 overs remaining on the opening day of the three-day match at the Jadavpur University Complex.
He scored 61, Kieran Powell made 64, Narsingh Deonarine was not out on 83 and veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul led them all with an unbeaten 91.
“This was my first competitive match facing a red cricket ball since I had eye surgery earlier this year, so it was very good to spend some time out in the middle,” said Bravo.
“I wanted to bat a bit longer, spend more time in the middle, but tomorrow is another day and I will just have to go into the nets and make sure that my game is in the right way before the first Test.”
He added: “Early on, I was not timing the ball the way I would have liked, but the longer I spent at the crease, I started to hit the ball nicely and this gave me a whole lot of confidence.
“I’m a confident player and I am sure this series will be a special one for me and for West Indies, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well.”
West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson said the previous day that his side had to make wise use of the only opportunity they had prior to the first Test against India, starting next Wednesday at the nearby Eden Gardens.
It was a message clearly not lost on Bravo and his fellow protagonists, as they revelled in idyllic conditions to warm up for higher intensity tussles with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side.
“We will have to make it do,” he said. “This is all we have. Hopefully, we can capitalise on whatever opportunities are there. It will also be important for us to head to the nets and top up our game, so we don’t want to make the one match an excuse. We need to make the best of it.
“I think this is a fantastic venue. The outfield is very fast and you get value for your shots. It was also very good to see the fans come out to support the cricket. It is a wonderful venue and, hopefully, we will come again to this ground in the future.”
Bravo is one of several players that recently visited India to play some form of the game. He was a member of the Trinidad & Tobago side that reached the semi-finals of the lucrative Champions League Twenty20 Tournament.
He said this had helped him to cope with the slow pitch which at times offered inconsistent bounce.
“The pitch is a bit slow and the ball stopped a bit when it was pitched back-of-a-length, so it is important that you assess the pitch quickly and then try to execute the game plan that the coach has set out for the team,” he said.
“It was good that a lot of us have spent time playing in India recently. It was different formats and different players, but it is always good to perform and it is always good to use the experience that you acquire when you spend time in the middle. We are looking forward to the Test series. It is going to be huge.”