Darren Bravo a Lara look-alike at the crease

By Avishek Roy, IANS
Thursday, February 24, 2011

NEW DELHI - The crouching stance of Brian Lara cannot be missed. His diminutive frame, the poise at the crease, the swift shuffle before playing the ball and the follow through and even when he leaves the deliveries make left-handed Darren Bravo a look-alike of the legendary West Indian.

It, therefore, is not surprising that Darren is Lara’s cousin.

The half-brother of more experienced all-rounder Dwayne, Darren is already seen as the next big thing in West Indian cricket and past greats of the Caribbean say World Cup is a stage set for him to excel and leave a mark.

The all-time West Indies great Viv Richards thinks very highly of him and feels he can take the side far in the World Cup.

Darren sees Lara as his mentor, but the style he says is not inherited.

“That is my natural batting style,” Darren insisted after one of the training sessions here when comparisons were made with Lara.

The 22-year-old made a sparkling 73 off 82 balls against South Africa on his World Cup debut. Each of the eight fours and one six he struck had the distinct stamp of his.

Former West Indian fast bowler Ian Bishop was looking forward to watch Darren bat in the World Cup and he must certainly be overjoyed with his performance Thursday.

“Darren Bravo is an exciting prospect. I want to see what he does in this World Cup. I think everybody realises how good he can be given what we saw in Sri Lanka,” Bishop said.

The 22-year-old made his debut in the Sri Lanka Test series and in no time he has proved his credentials.

Against South Africa Thursday, Darren rolled back the years and reminded many of Lara’s majestic century against South Africa in the 1996 World Cup.

After the first-over dismissal of dangerous Chris Gayle, Darren showed why he is the most talked about West Indian batsman.

Darren looked a man on mission as he entertained the spectators with his range of strokes. He looked comfortable both against pace and spin and there was an air of carefree fluency about his batting. Drive is his trademark shot and he plays it with a flair.

He took on the South African attack with effortless ease. Two fours of Dale Steyn showed his intent and class. He made it amply clear that he was not awed by the big names in the South African attack by hitting Steyn through the covers and then sweetly timing two fours off Jacques Kallis.

He then hoisted leg-spinner Tahir over long on for a six to tell the world how well he can play spin.

He looked good for a hundred when Johan Botha got him leg before.

But by then, Darren had already arrived.

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