Challenging series: West Indies skipper Dwayne Bravo

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RESTORING PRIDE

Captain Bravo not taking Zimbabwe for granted

By Roger Seepersad roger.seepersad@trinidadexpress.com

Regaining some form. Regaining some pride. Regaining the faith of the West Indies fans.

That is what the West Indies players will be aiming to do as they tackle Zimbabwe in the home series which bowls off on Friday with the first of three One Day Internationals in Grenada.

West Indies skipper Dwayne Bravo said the upcoming series will be challenging for him as skipper and important for the team, who are coming off a 5-0 defeat to Australia in the limited overs series in Australia earlier this month.

Bravo was named captain of the West Indies ODI squad with regular skipper Darren Sammy being rested.

The West Indies allrounder said: "We just came back from Australia. We did not have a good tour so these three games are going to be very important for us as a team.

"The focus is on the home series and hopefully we can restore some pride. We know the Zimbabweans. It is going to be tough. It is an international team and we can't take anything for granted. It is a great opportunity for me. It is a challenge and I am up for it," he added.

Bravo did not want to make any predictions of a clean sweep over the visitors, insisting "Cricket is played on the day and if we don't do the right things, Zimbabwe are going to beat us.

"My aim now, coming back from a tough tour, is to try and regroup the guys and try and help them regain their self-belief that they can compete at this level.

"We are going to take one game at a time and yes we want to win the series, but we have to play on the day and try to do the right thing," the West Indies skipper explained.

Bravo said his biggest challenge in the home series will be trying to get his players to believe in themselves again and, at the same time, try to have a good series.

Speaking about taking up the mantle of captaincy, Bravo said: "This is more challenging because it is the first time I was named captained going into a series.

"I am really looking forward to the series. Since I came back from my break from international cricket, I have been playing well. At the moment I am feeling good and I am looking forward to the challenge ahead of me," said Bravo.

"It is always a pleasure when an opportunity like this comes around. I did it (captained the West Indies) a couple times in the past. I am really looking forward to it. It is a good challenge for me personally and a great achievement but it is also an opportunity for me to lead the West Indies team into a series that is going to be competitive," the allrounder added.

Speaking about the West Indies' inconsistency in ODIs, Bravo said: "It is something we really have to work on.

"The 2015 World Cup is right around the corner and we have to start winning games. We have to start getting series victories under our belts and we need to get more consistent as players. Senior players need to do more so that junior players can follow.

"Over the years we have been really inconsistent in the longer forms of the game, whether it is 50-over or Test match cricket. In the shorter form, most of our players are more established worldwide, which is one of the reasons why we are world champs.

"It will take a big effort from all of us and more so the senior players to come good in conditions like in Australia where we had four or five players going there for the first time.

"It is always going to be difficult. The first game was a blowout but after, there were opportunities where we could have won games, and who knows we could have gone on to win the series but we still lost 5-0.

"Personally, for me, I am very disappointed with that but we can always take the positives out of the tour. We have young (Johnson) Charles scoring his maiden ODI hundred and (Kieron) Pollard also doing well," said Bravo.

Looking ahead to the Zimbabwe ODIs, Bravo said that while West Indies will miss Sammy and Chris Gayle, he has a good team capable of doing well.

"We will be looking to the likes of Ramnaresh Sarwan, who has now come back and looking to get back into the groove and who is a former captain, Denesh Ramdin and Kieron Pollard, who are also coming into the squad.

"It is a good enough team to do well and I have players on my hands to actually call up on at any given time to have successful series."

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