9:40 PM IST
West Indies allrounder Dwayne Bravo became the first bowler to take 500 wickets in T20 cricket in his 459th match. Fourteen years after his debut in the format. Bravo, turning out for Trinbago Knight Riders, picked up the wicket of St Lucia Zouks opener Rahkeem Cornwall to achieve the feat. The wicket also happened to be his 100th in the Caribbean Premier League, making him the first man to that mark. Bravo had also been the first to 300 and 400 T20 wickets as well. Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga is second on the list of T20 wicket-takers, with 390 wickets from 295 matches.
“First of all thanks to the almighty god for allowing me to be the first,” Bravo said during a touchline interview with broadcaster Star Sports. It’s a great journey, I want to say thanks to all my team-mates. Thanks to all the teams that I play for around the world. To be able to achieve that right here at home…this is where I started playing cricket you know? At age 8. It’s where it all started for me and I can’t be a more happier [sic] person to get that 500 here at the Queen’s Park Oval. “
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Bravo’s is one of the most storied careers in the T20 format, and the 36-year-old medium-pacer has played for as many as 23 teams including the West Indies, having been a batting allrounder in his younger days. After injury setbacks, Bravo had to reinvent his game to prolong his white-ball career and with his utility, became a mainstay for every franchise team he has since played for. In the IPL alone, he has taken 147 wickets, finishing as the top wicket-taker in the 2013 and 2015 seasons turning up for Chennai Super Kings. That is his highest return in a league, with the CPL being second.
“I saw you guys put up on the board that the one I dismissed the most was Pollard,” Bravo said when he was asked about hitting the milestones for 300, 400 and 500 wickets. “I had no idea actually that Pollard was the most dismissed. You know he’s my very good friend. To have a high quality player like that at the top of the list…I enjoy the battle. This is a batsman’s game. We bowlers have it very hard. My position is I bowl at the back end of the innings to some quality players. So yes, I accept the fact that I go for runs, but as you can see I also get wickets as well. And that is a part of the game. For me to dominate a batsman friendly game like this – I’m happy.”
Most of Bravo’s wickets – 283 – have come in the last five overs of a T20 match, where he is generally most used by all his franchises. The 500th, however, came with the new ball as Bravo had Cornwall miscue an attempted drive in the second over of the innings.
“They get off to a pretty decent start. Once again Polly said to me, try and see if I can get an over in in the Powerplay. I don’t normally bowl in the Powerplay. But like I said, I want to do what the team requires,” Bravo said. “Cornwall is a very dangerous player. I gave him a Yorker, I gave him a slower ball, I gave him a Yorker again and then I said now I have to go hard length again. And it worked. Straight to Munners [Colin Munro]. As Munners said, he’s part of history now! I think everyone is happy for me and I’m happy for myself and again my team-mates are the ones, they could take some credit as well.”
Bravo, 36, has his eyes firmly set on the next T20 World Cup as well, having come out of retirement to rejoin the West Indies team. That decision was taken pre-Covid-19, which has wreaked havoc with the cricket calendar. The T20 World Cup is now scheduled for October 2021, but a good CPL, followed by a good IPL could put Bravo one step closer to his wish of becoming champion once more.
“Of course [I’m still hungry],” he said. “This is what I was born to do. At age 8 is when I found the love for cricket. Said to the guys before, even though there’s no fans, people ask how does it feel to play without any fans. I say for me it don’t really affect me. It’s good to have fans in the stand, whether it’s 500, five people, or a thousand. [But] we have to play the game in one way – full intensity, play with passion, play with heart and play fair. And that’s how I’ve played throughout my life. So whether there’s fans or not, I’ll be able to play one way.”