High marker

Brathwaite seeking batting greatness

Kraigg Brathwaite doesn’t feel any pressure to become a legend.

But the West Indies opening batsman believes he has all of the necessary qualities to be a great Test batsman.

And he has the backing of one of Barbados’ most accomplished senior coaches too.

Kraigg Brathwaite
Kraigg Brathwaite

The 22-year-old Barbadian was one of the few bright sparks on the region’s just concluded tour of South Africa, where the West Indies were thrashed 2-0 in the three match Test series, and 4-1 in the One-Day International series. They won the Twenty20 series 2-1.

 Brathwaite who only played in the Test series, scored 183 runs at an average of 36.60, which included one century.

He was the only other West Indian apart from Marlon Samuels –– who topped the batting averages with 53.60 – to score a century.

In an interview with ESPNcricnfo, Brathwaite, while acknowledging that Barbados had produced several cricket legends, said while he didn’t feel pressured to live up those lofty expectations, he felt confident he could become a great Test batsmen.

“I am a very proud Barbadian. A lot of legends come from Barbados. Not that I feel any pressure to become a legend or anything, [as] the aim is to score as many runs as I can. That’s my only goal,” he explained.

“But I believe I have what it takes to be a great Test batsman. But as I said, I am still learning. I am very young. No matter how many runs I score, I have to improve. That is my goal. No matter how many runs I have in club cricket or first-class or Test cricket, I have to improve all the time,” Brathwaite emphasized.

The former Combermere student said that having idolized left-handed batsmen Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, he had shaped his game after the two greats.

He revealed he had been receiving several tips from Chanderpaul, and was now at a stage of his career where he was comfortable and no longer worried about what people thought of his batting style.

“I am learning a lot [from him]. Every chance that I get, I ask him a few questions. For me, it is just about playing my own game and not necessarily worrying about what people say.

“I still look up to him, he works hard. One thing I have learned from him is that if you put in the hard work, you will get the results,” Brathwaite acknowledged.

The Barbados Pride captain admitted that when he first started he had several technical flaws in his batting style.

And while he said he had improved significantly since then, he was quick to point out that he still had some ways to go before he had perfected the art.

“A lot has changed. When I first started, I had some technical flaws that I had to work on. I am better now. But I think I have batted well, especially in the last year. It’s about improving, and like I said, there is still some things to work on. It’s just about believing in your ability whenever you go out to bat.”

Head coach of local franchise the Barbados Pride, Henderson Springer, also believes Brathwaite has the potential to become one of the sport’s legends.

However, he contended that while the young opener had the ability and potential to be considered among the best, it would call for exceptional hard work and a bit of luck.

“Kraigg adjusted really well in South Africa, even though a lot of people had doubts about his ability to score runs there.

“And although he did well, I can tell you that knowing Kraigg, he wouldn’t be satisfied that he scored as many runs as he should have,” Springer noted.

“But he has the interest and the work ethic to succeed. Kraigg is extremely determined and he puts in a lot of hard work. So once he remains dedicated and continues to put in the work, I believe he has the potential to be a great cricketer, similarly to Desmond Haynes or Gordon Greenidge.”

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