Home Sports A gifted but inconsistent Kraigg Brathwaite
By Brandon Corlette
At age 18 against Pakistan in May 2011, Kraigg Clairmonte Brathwaite made his Test debut. Today, he is seen as the West Indies premiere Test opening batsman and the vice-captain of the Test team.
Brathwaite is amongst the few players that play one format of the game at international level; his style of batting is seen as more effective in Test cricket.
However, Brathwaite is currently at a bad patch in his Test career. From April 2017 to February 2019, the 26-year old Barbadian has featured in all 22 Test matches the West Indies has played.
In the year 2016, Harsha Bogle, an infamous Indian cricket commentator and analyst selected the West Indian in cricbuzz’s Test XI of the year. Brathwaite had an effective 2016 scoring 613 runs in eight matches at a staggering average of 55.72 scoring one century and five half-centuries.
At that point in Braithwaite’s career he was seen has one of the better players around the globe in the longest format of the game. Post 2016, the Test opener had faded as he experienced a familiar problem, failing to score runs consistently. Many are calling for Brathwaite to be axed from the team but his overall Test and First-class career is still above most Caribbean openers.
In the 56 Test matches Brathwaite played to date, he has 3449 runs at an average of 34.83 with eight centuries and 17 half-centuries. Brathwaite has a lot more of cricket within him at 26 years old; he already has a double hundred in Test cricket, with a best batting performance of 212. In First-class cricket he has 9035 runs at an average of 39.28 with 21 centuries and 47 half-centuries.
Rewinding from April 2017 to February 2019, Brathwaite scored 1221 runs in the 22 Test matches he played, batting 42 innings averaging 29.07. Within that period, Brathwaite had stand-out performances against England in August-September 2017 and Bangladesh in July 2018. In England, Brathwaite scored 229 runs in one Test match in Windies triumph at Headingly; he had scores of 134 and 95.
His second stand-out performance came until July 2018 where he scored 239 runs in three innings he played against Bangladesh in the Caribbean. However, the last five Test tours Brathwaite featured in, he scored 529 runs in 12 matches batting on 23 occasions. During his bad patch, he had an average of 23 in the last five series. Reflecting on Brathwaite’s last three series that he played in India, Bangladesh and the recently concluded series against England his performances are rated below par.
In India, Brathwaite had scores of 2, 10, 14 and zero in the two Test matches he played. Usually when Jason Holder is absent, he takes up the captaincy and it has done nothing good for his batting at the top of the innings. The usually solid right hander then replicated his miserable performance in Bangladesh with bat in hand. Kraigg, who attended Combermere School in Barbados had scores of 13, 8 0, and 1 in the four innings he batted in Bangladesh. Returning in home conditions in the Caribbean, playing a quality England bowling attack, Brathwaite scored 138 runs in six innings in the just-concluded Wisden Test series that Windies won 2-1.
In the first Test match played in his backyard, in Bridgetown Barbados, Kraigg had scores of 40 and 24 which was unsatisfactory to his standards. West Indies were winning but Brathwaite was battling his way to register a rare big score. In the second test match, Brathwaite scored 49 and 05; then closed the series on a low, scoring 12 and 08 in the third Test in St Lucia.
Since Kraigg Brathwaite had been appointed vice-captain his performances with the bat has been poor and when West Indies are without Jason Holder, Brathwaite has to captain the team which has not done his batting any justice. On the brighter side of things, time is not against Kraigg and the Test specialist will certainly bounce back, since he is given a long run in the Test team despite his inconsistency.
West Indies will not be playing any Test matches post the ICC Cricket World Cup, hence Kraigg has time to fins his grove. With the Regional 4-Day Tournament in process, Kraigg will be aiming to right the wrongs in his batting.