Bravo shows Zim respect ahead of series

HARARE - Touring Zimbabwe might have arrived in the Caribbean at the weekend like a lamb to the slaughter, ripe for a tour whitewash, but stand-in West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo has warned the African side “are going to beat us if we don’t do the right things.”

Bravo, standing in for the rested regular skipper Darren Sammy in the three-match One-Day International series which begin in Grenada tomorrow, is taking a different view from several pre-series analysts, who have tipped the West Indies to roll over a Zimbabwean side which not only last played one-day cricket eight months ago, but is touring under the dark cloud of a detractive off-field row at home.

The West Indies, themselves coming off a 5-0 defeat to Australia in the limited-overs series in Australia earlier this month, are out to regain some pride and the faith of their fans in the Zimbabwe series, with Bravo describing the matches as challenging for him as skipper and important for the team.

"We just came back from Australia. We did not have a good tour so these three games are going to be very important for us as a team,” Bravo told the Trinidad & Tobago Express this week.

 "The focus is on the home series and hopefully we can restore some pride. We know the Zimbabweans. It is going to be tough. It is an international team and we can't take anything for granted. It is a great opportunity for me. It is a challenge and I am up for it.”

 Bravo did not want to make any predictions of a clean-sweep over the visitors, insisting "Cricket is played on the day and if we don't do the right things, Zimbabwe are going to beat us.

 "My aim now, coming back from a tough tour, is to try and regroup the guys and try and help them regain their self-belief that they can compete at this level.

 "We are going to take one game at a time and yes we want to win the series, but we have to play on the day and try to do the right thing," the West Indies skipper explained.

 Bravo said his biggest challenge in the home series will be trying to get his players to believe in themselves again and, at the same time, try to have a good series.

 Speaking about taking up the mantle of captaincy, Bravo said: "This is more challenging because it is the first time I was named captained going into a series.

 "I am really looking forward to the series. Since I came back from my break from international cricket, I have been playing well. At the moment I am feeling good and I am looking forward to the challenge ahead of me," said Bravo.

 "It is always a pleasure when an opportunity like this comes around. I did it (captained the West Indies) a couple times in the past. I am really looking forward to it. It is a good challenge for me personally and a great achievement but it is also an opportunity for me to lead the West Indies team into a series that is going to be competitive," the all-rounder added.

 Speaking about the West Indies' inconsistency in ODIs, Bravo said: "It is something we really have to work on.

 "The 2015 World Cup is right around the corner and we have to start winning games.” - Sports Writer

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