Newly-installed West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo is ready to lead from the front at the ICC Champions Trophy, a tournament he calls a 'mini-World Cup'.
He will lead the side out against India, Pakistan and South Africa in the tournament which gets underway on 6th June, before which West Indies play Australia and Sri Lanka in warm-ups.
"The ICC Champions Trophy, we as players know it as the mini-World Cup," Bravo said. "We see it as a very important tournament. For us as a team and all the cricketing nations also, we are really looking forward to it.
"I myself, it’s a new road for me taking over the ODI team, and I’m really excited to be a part of a side that has so many world-class players. I just can’t wait to lead the team, and like I said before, this is a tournament that’s very important to us," Bravo added.
West Indies won the tournament in 2004, beating Pakistan in the semi-finals and then upsetting hosts England in the final at The Oval and Bravo says his side are up for attempting a repeat success, but he knows it will be a big challenge.
"We’re in a very tough group...India, Pakistan, also South Africa...so it's not going to be easy. Playing in England, also, is always challenging in itself, but we are up for it. We are looking also forward to the two warm-up games against Australia and Sri Lanka.
"I’m sure that everyone will be looking forward to it because it’s a prestigious tournament and it’s another tournament we would love to win.
"We won it here in 2004. Now we have like five players from 2004 who are here again today. So it’s good to know we still have basically the core of the team around, and hopefully that will help."
Bravo, along with Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan, are members of the squad for this year's tournament that played in the final back in 2004 while Darren Sammy also featured earlier in the tournament.
Despite the presence of such experience in the squad as well as exciting talent like Johnson Charles, Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels, Bravo wouldn't make his side the favourites.
"We don't think we are favourites. We just want to concentrate on what we have to do. We’re in a very tough group, and first of all, we want to take it step by step, try and survive that group. The talk around is that this is the ‘group of death’, so hopefully we get out of the group of death and then take it from there," he said.
"A tournament like this, it's short, and you never know what can happen. Being called favourites...it’s good that other teams and media people can actually look at us as favourites, but we just want to be humble and go about our business in our own way and let the man above take care of our destiny.
"Lately in ODIs we never used to score enough runs as a batting team, especially against the better teams, but at this time we’ll try to approach it differently. We will try to structure our batting a lot differently...our approach through the middle... it’s going to be different.
"The most important thing is to try and keep wickets in hand, and I think that is what our approach is going to be in this tournament. We bat very deep, and like I said, we can make up at the end of the innings. We have players who can hit a six at any point in time."
© Cricket World 2013
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