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Cricket news - It's exciting to have Dwayne Bravo back - WI assistant coach

Roddy Estwick stressed Bravo's experience will help the side get better ahead of the T20 WC.

Roddy Estwick stressed Bravo's experience will help the side get better ahead of the T20 WC.

West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick has welcomed Dwayne Bravo's decision to make himself available for T20 Internationals again. The allrounder, who hasn't featured for West Indies in more than three years, reversed his decision to retire on Friday (December 13) in order to play T20Is again with two World Cups scheduled to be held in successive years.

Ahead of the ODI series against India, Estwick refused to set a timeframe for Bravo's comeback game but pointed out that the squad will be delighted to have the 36-year-old back in the national fold. "I can't say when he is likely to return but I'm very very happy because that would us another experienced player in the dressing room, give us another experienced player on the field," Estwick said. "Somebody with his experience in T20 cricket, I'm sure he will be most welcome by the group. We saw him earlier on the Indian leg, he came in and saw us. We will welcome him with open arms because he has a lot to offer. We all know about his death bowling skills, his variations and everything. It's exciting to have players like him making himself available."

Estwick was also satisfied with his side's performance in the recently-concluded T20I series that they lost 2-1 to India. A considerable improvement compared to the results West Indies fetched when they faced India at home a few months ago was the biggest takeaway, according to the assistant coach. "We are happy with the way we performed in the T20s," he said. "After the three T20s we played in the Caribbean, the gulf between the two sides was wide and we are happy that we narrowed the gap and we hope we can do the same in 50 overs."

And in order to narrow down that gulf, West Indies will have to make a good start in the ODI series that kicks off in Chennai on Sunday. On a surface that has traditionally offered help for the spinners, the visitors will have their task cut out especially if India field both Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the XI. With West Indies defeating Afghanistan in India recently in the ODIs, Estwick is hopeful of his side putting up a similar performance against India's spin threat while urging his own spin attack to learn from this tour against a strong batting unit.

"I thought we were brilliant against Afghanistan," he pointed out. "That's an area we have improved. We know that we got to improve in that area, we keep working on that and we brought it down against Afghanistan. You know they have quality spin bowlers, so it was a good test for us and we were able to do that in that series. Once we can continue doing that, we know we have the power at the back end of an innings. The middle overs were our problem, once we keep turning over the strike and limit the dot balls, we will be able to put up a better score on the board.

"It's a learning curve for (Hayden) Walsh, (Khary) Pierre and for Roston Chase. It's all about learning and building blocks for the 2023 50-over World Cup. Once you play against the best, it helps you raise the game and raise the standards so it's good we are playing against a quality side like India."

Even though the 58-year-old is excited by the talent pool available with the bat, he wants them to take cue from Indian skipper Virat Kohli and keep working hard in order to progress and reach the next level. "It's exciting times for us when you look at the likes of (Shimron) Hetmyer, (Nicholas) Pooran, Shai Hope, we got young batsmen who are developing but the key thing is how they prepare and if they are prepared to work hard. You got a benchmark in Virat Kohli, who you see in the gym who will work very very hard. Once our players can learn from players like that, then we've got a chance because without hard work there is no success. Hard work is boring but it gives success.

"If you look at Hetmyer's performance in the T20s, it's very very exciting and if we go to the longer format, people forget that at a very young age he has 4 ODI hundreds so obviously there is a lot of talent there and he has to keep working. That's the key you have to keep working, you can't relax. Once you rest, it will bite you so you have to keep preparing, keep your process and once you keep doing that, you will get the results."

Estwick also stated that West Indies will look to give newbie Romario Shepherd more games in order to assess him against tough opponents in tough situations. Shepherd recently made his debut against Afghanistan and featured in all three ODIs. "He will add good bowling skills, back end batting, he is also an excellent fielder," he noted. "Again, he is a young player we want to give an opportunity. You want to find out what these players can do and the only way you can find is by putting them against the best to see if they got the temperament, see if they got the skills and then you can add things to what they are doing. Hopefully, they can learn from a tour like India."

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