Darren Bravo is blessed as he is, cursed.
Every time people look at him bat, they instantly smile: the high bat lift reminds them of Brian Charles Lara and for most, other than the bowlers, that is a happy, magical memory. So they watch him, intently, to see whether he is worthy.
But because his style is so similar to Lara, somewhere, somehow everyone expects him to bat like ‘The Prince’ too. To most he is continuation, so he isn’t allowed to fail. He is already being judged in the same vein as Lara and that is why he is cursed. From the first match, he would have felt the weight of crippling expectations.
He’s coped pretty well though.
In fact, even though he’s played just 12 Tests, he;s already has managed to go one up on Lara. His century against India in the second innings of the second Test allowed him to reach three figures in India – a feat Lara never managed to reach in his illustrious career.
That aside, there is a statistic that is eerily similar. After 12 Tests he has scored 941 runs at 47.05 -- exactly the same as Lara’s stats after the same number of Tests.
He was lucky to get to the century (136 balls, 230 balls, 16 fours, 4 sixes); there were a couple of decisions that could have gone India’s way. But he survived and played shots that for some time made the memory off 2001 Kolkata come alive all over again.
When he fell, there was a part that was unhappy because it meant the match would come to an end. But in the innings, Bravo showed that he is more than just a clone. And indeed, that’s the way forward for him. If he sticks to doing only what Lara did, he’ll never find his true form and to succeed in Test cricket, that’s what you need to do.
Over the years, we’ve seen many ‘copycats’ play cricket. When Aavishkar Salvi ran in to bowl, if you were looking from afar, you couldn’t help but say ‘McGrath!’
When Virender Sehwag made his debut, some of the shots looked so much like those of Sachin Tendulkar. But over time he’s shown he has his own style – one that works brilliantly.
For those who’ve been around for a while, Carlton Saldanha (Karnataka) used to have a style that was very similar to that of Sunil Gavaskar. It was something that just developed. Then, of course, there was the Muthaih Muralitharan clone, Monish Parmar, who didn’t go too far because he picked the wrong action to copy.
Even Basit Ali used to bat a lot like Javed Miandad. But as you go down the list, you discover that the one’s who make it big are the guys who find their own space. And for Bravo and any other youngsters who copy their idol, that’s the challenge.
Pick the good bits and make them better. Bravo showed that he has the potential to do that and it should have pleased the West Indies coaches no end.
This lookalike is about more than just looks – he’s got substance as well.
Updated Date: Nov 22, 2011 09:59 AM