Dwayne Bravo, who led the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots to their maiden Caribbean Premier League title on Wednesday, reveled in the joy of teaming up with Chris Gayle, the 'Universe Boss', during the campaign. The Patriots defeated Saint Lucia Kings by three wickets in a tense final.
Dwayne Bravo, a global superstar in the game’s shortest version, completed 15 T20 title wins as a player, after leading St Kitts and Nevis Patriots to the Caribbean Premier League 2021 title, thereby drawing level with his West Indies captain Kieron Pollard. Bravo also completed 500 matches as a T20 player, which puts him second behind Pollard (561) in the all-time list. The 37-year-old labelled the win as one among the "top three", given that it came for a new franchise with a lot of youngsters.
"Belief - we gave the people opportunities," Bravo told the host broadcaster after the match. "All I asked the guys was to back each other - It doesn't matter whether we perform or not, play or not play, let's support each other, let's stay tight, let's stay together. Giving young players the belief and opportunity - especially (Dominic) Drakes. In my first net session I had with Drakes, I told him: 'You're not an emerging player, you're one of my main players'. All these guys who have come in, even the overseas guys, whether they play or not, the energy on the bench is good.
"[I] want to commend my team. This is for them. Without them this wouldn't have been possible. To my entire team and owners and most of all the fans of St Kitts - they deserve this, they come out in numbers, were our 12th man, and this is for them.
"I challenged myself to come here [to Patriots] and see if I could do something different and I'm very happy. This will be right on top even though I've won a lot. This will be special because again, it was a new franchise, out of my comfort zone, coming here not knowing what to expect - I think this is maybe in the top three because it's a young-ish team, with a couple of seniors.”
Bravo revelled in the joy of teaming up with Chris Gayle for another T20 title win, in a team which also boasted of prominent internationals like Sheldon Cottrell and Evin Lewis.
"I know how much it means to the guys - Sheldon Cottrell has been here for nine years, Devon Thomas for six years, Evin Lewis seven years,” Bravo said. “I have had Universe Boss Chris Gayle here, who left and came back. I always wanted an opportunity for both of us to play CPL together, now we're in the same team and now we're champions together. The Universe Boss and The Champion in one team - one thing can happen."
The Patriots were reduced 95/5 in the 14th over, after the skipper was dismissed for 8 in a run-chase of 160. However, 23-year-old Dominic Drakes struck an unbeaten 24-ball 48, to take his side over the line off the final ball.
Bravo stated that the immense self-belief within the group was key to the team’s overall success, as he acknowledged the brilliance of youngsters and coach Simon Helmot’s constant support.
"We lost Chris early, we lost Evin early, at that point maybe St Lucia (Kings) thought they had the game at their hands,” Bravo said. “But we kept believing. The message in the dressing room was that no matter what, take the game deep, you guys have the talent. We might have been a batter short because on this surface we needed protection with an extra bowler.
“I think [Jon-Russ] Jaggesar had an outstanding tournament - as [an] off-spinner. Fawad Ahmed, Naseem with his pace - got to give credit to him. It was a great, great team effort. To our coach Simon Helmot, this is our second title together [first in 2015 with Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel]. Very happy to work with a coach like him."