Dwayne Bravo: ‘CSK is like a family’

Murali Vijay and Dwayne Bravo are grateful to the franchise for buying them at the IPL 2018 auction.

Dwayne Bravo (right) and Murali Vijay at a promotional event in Chennai on Thursday.   -  V. Ganesan

Murali Vijay and Dwayne Bravo acknowledged the faith bestowed on them by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to bring them back into the squad for the 11th season of the Indian Premier League.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to play for CSK, I am blessed,” said Murali Vijay at a launch event in the city. Vijay, who was sold for his base price of ₹ 2 crores at the auction, will return to his home franchise for the first time since IPL 2013. He added, “CSK is incomparable to other franchises. Personally, it’s a dream come true to play for CSK, I am ready to go.”

Bravo, who was retained by CSK using the right to match card, was just as grateful and promised to give his all. “Coming back to Chennai always feels like a home, grateful to the franchise for showing faith in me, I’ll give my all for the franchise,” said the West Indian all-rounder.

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Vijay and Bravo’s IPL careers have roughly followed the same path in the last two years. Both players missed the last season with injuries; Vijay with a right wrist injury and a left shoulder trouble, and Bravo with an injured left hamstring. And in 2016, Bravo wasn’t quite at his best as an all-rounder for Gujarat Lions while Vijay enjoyed a productive season for Kings XI Punjab (453 runs in 14 innings).

CSK the best

A two-time Purple Cap winner, Bravo had said just after this year’s auction that CSK is the best franchise he has played for.

What separates the club from others? Bravo replied, “CSK is like a family, we (the players and the owners) keep in touch through the year. And playing under M. S. (Dhoni) is special.”

Bravo also hailed Dhoni as the “best captain in the world” and added that he feels particularly appreciated by the CSK fans.

‘Windies players fancy shorter formats’

One of several West Indian players who thrive playing T20 cricket for multiple franchises worldwide, Bravo said he and his compatriots fancy themselves in the shorter version. “We (West Indies players) fancy ourselves in shorter formats. We have won tournaments and personally, I’ve been successful in two T20 World Cups (2012 and 2016).”

Despite being a T20 specialist, Bravo did not agree that the limited-overs formats (ODIs and T20s) are more important than Test cricket. He said, “All (forms of) cricket should be played.”

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Bravo extended his congratulations to his West Indian team-mates for sealing qualification for next year’s World Cup. “Congratulations to West Indies team on reaching the World Cup. It’s a young team and love to see West Indies compete with the best,” he said.

Queried if a World Cup without the Windies will have been a travesty, Bravo cited Italy as an example of how heavyweights aren’t always guaranteed a World Cup spot.

CSK, the IPL heavyweight, faces its own headaches. It has to cope with the absence of left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, who has been ruled out of action for six to nine months because of a bone defect in his knee. Will there be a like-for-like replacement for him? Kasi Viswanathan, the CSK CEO, said the decision will rest with the team management.

On April 7, the club will play its first match in nearly three years when it takes on defending champion Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium.

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