Barbados and West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has signalled his eagerness and readiness to return to the field when the West Indies first-class championship starts later this month.
Brathwaite underscored the value of the four-day matches, pointing out they would be ideal preparation for the upcoming three-match Test series against England next month.
The 29-year-old, the region’s marquee opening batsman, will lead Barbados Pride against Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Kensington Oval when the red ball season opens next Wednesday.
“I always see myself as a leader in the Barbados team and I’m happy to get back into ‘game mode’ and play for the country,” said Brathwaite, who guided Pride to the capture of the last first class title in 2020. “There are a few youngsters in the team and I’m happy to see we have a good blend of experience and youth in the set-up.”
The other first round matches will be played in Trinidad, with the home team taking on Jamaica Scorpions at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, while Windward Islands Volcanoes meet Guyana Harpy Eagles at Queen’s Park Oval.
Formerly Guyana Jaguars, the Georgetown-based franchise was renamed last month by the Guyana Cricket Board.
Brathwaite was part of a training session on Thursday morning at Kensington Oval, where he was joined by other Test players Jomel Warrican, Chemar Holder and Shayne Moseley, under the guidance of new head coach Vasbert Drakes, and assistant Ryan Hinds.
The right-handed Brathwaite was among his side’s leading scorers in the last season in 2019-20, gathering 468 runs while the left-handed Moseley also shone, scoring nearly 500 runs.
“I always enjoy playing here and as the captain it would be great to get out there and play on the pitch and get a feel of the surface as we prepare to face England,” said Brathwaite. “I really look forward to leading Barbados to some victories.”
Brathwaite has enjoyed some success against England in the past, with two Test centuries. Back in 2015 he made 116 at the Grenada National Stadium and in 2017, he made 134 in the first innings followed by 95 in the second innings, in the historic second Test win at Leeds.
And while he failed to to pass fifty on England’s last tour of the Caribbean in 2019, Brathwaite said he was anxiously eyeing up the March 8-28 series in Antigua, Barbados and Grenada. “We’re really looking forward to the Apex Test series. Everytime we play against England it’s always fantastic,” Brathwaite stressed.
“We must remember Test cricket between West Indies and England dates back to 1928, so there is a lot of rich history and legacy… almost 100 years of history.” He continued: “The last series we played against them at home back in 2019 was fantastic. We had a magnificent start here in Barbados with Jason Holder getting a double hundred, and a century from Shane Dowrich – that really great partnership which really set up the series for us.
“Then that was followed by eight wickets from Roston Chase, and we built on the momentum from there. We look forward to England coming again for what promises to be three more great Test matches.”