Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Bravo finds second wind at the twilight of his career. This is Bravo's most productive season with the ball in recent years.
This is Bravo's most productive season with the ball in recent years.
A disappointing campaign for Chennai Super Kings in 2020 led to calls for a massive shake-up to their roster even though the franchise won the title in 2018 and fell short by a solitary run in the 2019 final. The presence of several ageing stars was cited as the primary reason behind their shocking run in the UAE last year where they failed to reach the playoff stages of a campaign for the very first time in their history. One of the names mooted to be a part of the shake up was Dwayne Bravo, and the veteran's dwindling numbers did back those suggestions.
Bravo's association with the franchise dates way back to 2011 when he made the infamous switch from blue to yellow. Since then, the allrounder has been a vital cog contributing with both bat and ball over the years including his record-breaking 32-wicket haul in the 2013 edition. Telling contributions followed in 2018 during CSK's successful return to the IPL but Bravo's potency with the ball did witness a sharp decline. 2018 was his worst season as a bowler in the IPL in terms of his economy rate that almost touched 10. There was a noticeable improvement in 2019 but the wickets were still not coming in heaps like they used to.
2020 then proved to be a disaster as Bravo even went on to lose his spot in the playing XI at one stage. Sam Curran, CSK's biggest positive last season, managed to take over from Bravo and quickly became a fan favourite as well condemning the West Indian to the sidelines. Curran was looked at upon as the ideal replacement for Bravo going into the next decade. The comparisons did make sense considering both were seamers who could use the long handle to a great effect lower down the order. However, with the mega auctions getting postponed by one more year, the overhaul didn't happen as CSK stuck with Bravo in their attempt to return to the summit.
Their decision to not part ways with perhaps the most decorated overseas player in their history has worked wonders as Bravo appears to have turned things around in recent months. Just a week short of turning 38, Bravo has had one of his best spells as a player finding a second wind. He has rediscovered his mojo again as a bowler and his success has coincided with that of CSK's as they became the first team to make it to the playoffs of IPL 2021 on Thursday (September 30). The changes in pace are once again bamboozling the batters, the indipping slower deliveries and the yorkers have returned as well, as Kane Williamson found out on Thursday. The numbers certainly highlight a massive turnaround.
Bravo the bowler in recent IPL editions
Even though he has managed to strike at different stages of the innings this campaign, numbers once again highlight the fact that Bravo is returning to his best as a dependable bowler at the death. So far this season, his economy rate at the slog overs stands at 7 which is easily his best in recent years.
Bravo at the death
Much like compatriot Chris Gayle, Bravo too has refused to give up in his late 30s and is now a key member of the West Indies side that will look to defend its T20 crown next month. In 2021, Bravo has managed to pick 17 wickets in just 12 innings for West Indies, giving runs away at just 6.95. Even though he didn't bowl a lot in the recently-concluded CPL, he still managed to make contributions at times purely as a batter. The sample size might be small but the 37-year-old is striking the ball at 268 this season for CSK compared to 116 and 121 in the previous editions. Quite fittingly, his performances have helped him take over the mantle of being CSK's numero uno overseas allrounder with Curran getting relegated to the bench.
“There is some good competition for that place with Sam Curran,” CSK head coach Stephen Fleming highlighted after the game on Thursday. “Sam was excellent for us in the first part and Dwayne Bravo has come back now the champion he is. So there is some really good competition around that allrounder's spot. We are really impressed with the way Bravo has responded to the challenge and he is back to his best. His bowling at the death has been outstanding.”
As a result of this recent upswing, Bravo is now just seven wickets short of becoming the all-time leading wicket-taker in IPL history. He would hope that he gets to achieve that feat in two weeks time while holding the trophy. And he would most certainly hope this turnaround will help him continue his association with CSK, a franchise he dearly loves, beyond the 2021 edition.