#WICHAMPS: BRATHWAITE CELEBRATES PRIDE’S TITLE SUCCESS
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Barbados Pride captain Kraigg Brathwaite hailed his side’s resilience, after they were declared winners of the 2019-20 West Indies Championship on Tuesday.
This followed a decision of the board of directors of Cricket West Indies to cancel the last two rounds of matches in the Championship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the season broke on March 15 after the eighth round of matches because of the virus outbreak, Pride were leading the standings on 134.8 points – a 40.2-point lead over their nearest rivals, Trinidad & Tobago Red Force.
The CWI directors unanimously agreed to award the Headley/Weekes Trophy (named in honour of West Indies batsmen George Headley and Sir Everton Weekes) to Brathwaite’s team.
This meant the Pride claimed the 23rd first-class title for Barbados in the modern era of the Championship, which harks back to 1966, and broke the five-year stranglehold of the Guyana Jaguars on the trophy.
Pride won six of their eight matches, including a season sweep of the Jaguars, and unearthed potentially three players for the future.
Chemar Holder, 22, the former West Indies Under-19 World Cup-winner fast bowler, captured 36 wickets at 18.91 apiece and bowled dangerously fast at times, especially on helpful pitches on home soil at Kensington Oval.
Fellow pacer Keon Harding, 23, a member of the West Indies Emerging side that won the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup about four months earlier, also bowled impressively and captured 29 wickets at 23.30 each to give good support.
On the batting side, left-handed all-rounder Kyle Mayers, playing for the Pride for the first time, after four seasons with the Windward Islands Volcanoes, was head and shoulders above the rest of his teammates, finishing the season with 654 runs from 15 innings in eight matches – at a healthy average of 50.30 – including two hundreds.
Mayers, son of former Barbados batsman Shirley Clarke, stepped up with the bat after he was prevented from bowling because of an injury he sustained in the first game of the season.
He ended the season second overall in the batting aggregates and showed the depth of his ability with a number of salvage jobs batting at six when the team ran into early trouble – and started back bowling in the last two matches played.
It was not a personally rewarding season for Brathwaite, the West Indies opener, but he told CWI Media he was thrilled to have led the Pride to their title success. . .
On how much the title means to the team:
It means a lot to the players. We had a number of goals at the start of the season, which included winning the title. The players really worked very hard to achieve this success and we are very happy to have won the title.
On the main reasons for success:
I think we did a fairly good job in all departments, but the bowlers, the pacers, really led the way for us. Generally, I think all departments were pretty good and we stuck to the game plan throughout the season.
On the highlights of the season:
To see our two young pacers, Chemar Holder and Keon Harding, getting more than 25 wickets apiece this season. It was magnificent to see them rise to the challenge. We had a number of players stepping up on occasions throughout the season. Another player would be Kyle Mayers. It was his first time playing for the Pride, if not in the Championship, and he did a fantastic job with the runs he scored and started back bowling towards the end of the season after being unable to bowl throughout the first half of the season because of an injury. But it was really our two young pacers, Holder and Harding, that really did a good job for us.
On the lowlights of the season:
We lost two matches – in the first round against the Volcanoes and later in the season against the Red Force. They were probably the lowest points in the season for us. But I still think there were positives in those games. We lost those two games in key moments, but we were resilient throughout the season.
On areas of deficiencies to fix for next season:
We can do much better in the batting, especially at the top of the order, including myself, the top five. In some games we were struggling with three wickets down for a low number of runs. That is an area we will have to review. I still think the team overall did a good job at the end of the day.
On the meaning of the title success for Barbados cricket:
It says the game is in a good place in Barbados. The thing about this success is that we had a number of young, talented players that did not get a play. They are all capable of doing a good job, so it says we are in a good place. We need to keep the systems we have in place and continue to build on them to guide the Pride players.
On the grade he would assign to his side:
I think it would be about eight out of 10. We know there are still some areas that we could improve – in this game, that’s always the case – but I think we can get better, but that would be my grade.
Source: CWI Media