BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Great former fast bowler, Sir Curtly Ambrose, says Darren Bravo’s current poor form is a cause of concern, especially with West Indies needing the left-hander to be at his best for the ICC World Cup starting at month end.
Bravo has scraped a mere 33 runs from four innings in the ongoing Tri-Nations Series involving hosts Ireland and Bangladesh in Dublin, and will have just one more chance in Friday’s final to find his touch, before the Caribbean side head into camp to finalise preparations for the May 30 to July 14 World Cup in England.
“We must really be concerned about his form because we need him to really come to the party and produce the runs that we know he is capable of doing,” Sir Curtly told the Mason and Guest cricket radio show here.
“Because as we go deep into this World Cup and in order to get out of the group stages, we can’t rely on one, two or three players. We need a whole team to click or most of the team to click, for us to get out of the group stages.
“So I am concerned about Darren Bravo’s form but I feel that he’s good enough to get out of that slump and produce the runs for us.”
Bravo only returned to competitive cricket last October following a two-year break as a result of a row with former Cricket West Indies president, Dave Cameron. Since his return, however, he has averaged 24 from 11 outings with a single half-century – against England in Grenada last February.
Overall, the 30-year-old averages 31 from 106 ODIs and apart from veteran opener Chris Gayle, is the only other player in the World Cup squad with in excess of 100 matches.
However, Sir Curtly pointed out that batsmen like Gayle and the in-form Shai Hope would be crucial in getting West Indies to competitive totals.
“I’ve always liked Shai Hope for the very first time I saw him. He’s in prime form – the form of his life – and we’re hoping he can continue that rich form into the World Cup,” Sir Curly said of the 25-year-old who has nearly 400 runs from four innings at an average of 99 with two centuries.
“I believe with the way he’s batting, he will do very well but on the other hand we can’t depend on him alone, we need somebody like a Chris Gayle at the top of the order.
“Obviously this will be Chris Gayle’s last World Cup and I’m quite sure he will want to go out with a bang so we expect him at the top of the order to fire us into a strong position especially in the first power-play, and then the other guys can take it on.”
Following Friday’s final against Bangladesh, West Indies will head to Southampton for a week-long preparation camp where they will be joined by the rest of the squad who were campaigning in the Indian Premier League.
The Windies play their two official warm-up matches in Bristol against South Africa on May 26 and New Zealand two days later, before facing Pakistan at Trent Bridge in their opening World Cup fixture on May 31.