West Indies T20I skipper says the team will be easy to lead, and he will continue to follow the path set by Darren Sammy
Carlos Brathwaite, the newly appointed West Indies Twenty20 International captain, is set to lead his side for the first time against India in two matches at Fort Lauderdale in Florida on August 27 and 28. Brathwaite has taken over the reins from Darren Sammy.
And Brathwaite, 28, was quick to credit Sammy and his seniors for their help in preparing him for the role.
"He (Sammy) just told me, 'Congratulations'. He heard it before I spoke to him, and he just said, 'Congratulations, it's a big challenge'," Brathwaite told reporters at a press conference ahead of the contest. "He gave me his blessing and as a senior guy appreciated it, which allowed me to ease into the role. I haven't officially started yet, but it has allowed me to transition easier from just being told [about the captaincy] to the excitement of wanting to get on the field and lead. It was a good vote of confidence speaking to Sammy, then I saw him at a charity event, saw some of the senior guys as well, all have been telling me positive things."
In an interesting incident, R Ashwin, who attended the press conference, asked Brathwaite a question about what he expected from the crowd as the action shifts to the United States of America following the four Tests in the Caribbean.
"It's funny because the US has a lot of Caribbean supporters and I think a few Caribbean people who used to like cricket but probably don't follow it anymore would love to come out and enjoy some games in the US," Brathwaite replied. "Whether they will be supporting West Indies or India I don't know, but I think it will be a very good spectacle. From all reports, CPL had a fantastic ovation and it was well-received. And I hope this is the start of big things. We are next-door neighbours and the US is a powerhouse so let's see how it goes. We are testing the waters a bit, hopefully it goes well and hopefully this is the first of many in the USA."
Brathwaite added that his teammates were mature enough to handle the change in leadership. He said that the camaraderie within the camp was fantastic as always, which made his work easier as a captain.
"I think a team like this will be pretty easy to lead, from the point of view that the dressing room is a fun place to be. I don't think it's a case where I have to negotiate too many egos," he said. "The guys enjoy each other's company. It's just a matter for me to go there, do the things that I can do, firstly as a player and then a captain, continue to mould the team that Darren has started to mould, efficiently.
"Again, the most important thing is getting victories for the West Indies. As a new leader, things might change bit by bit. It's just about adjusting and then for me to find ways for the team to continue to win. I don't want to get too deep into the psychology of changing leaders and stuff like that. I think all the guys are mature enough. We have had cases where some of the guys were captains, and then played the next series under a different captain. We are professionals, we all know what we have to go out there and do.
"It's a matter of, first, to go out there and win games for the West Indies, and I hope that my leadership can influence that in some part. Even if it doesn't, if we win the games that will be the most important thing."
Brathwaite, who made headlines in the ICC World T20 2016 final against England, by smacking four successive sixes in the last over off Ben Stokes to take West Indies to its second WT20 title, has played only eight T20Is in his short career so far.
"I want to be the best I can be," he said. "I want to myself be available in all three formats for the West Indies and I obviously don't want to make goals I haven't been able to fulfill as yet."
The Barbadian has played 14 ODIs and three Tests, the last of which was against India in the first Test in Antigua, after which he was left out of the side.
"Being dropped, I got a clear message from the selectors why I was dropped as well," he said. "I was disappointed but it's a chance for me now to go forward and get a bit stronger and get a bit better as well and when you get that chance again, whenever it may be, it is up to me to take that chance and become a better player all-round.
"I wanted to contact my family and my close advisors before I took the job (of leading West Indies in the shortest format). It is an honour, I would never say I didn't want to take it. But obviously I had some questions that I asked of the selection panel before I took the job. Just basically to clarify why they wanted me, what they expected of me, and coming into the role knowing my job."