DARREN Michael Bravo is leaving nothing to chance as he continues to enjoy his exciting international cricket career.
Bravo, 23, brimming with pride, is confident the West Indies will do well in the ICC World Twenty20 Tournament being played in Sri Lanka and says he will do his part in ensuring the team's success.
"It's very important that you learn how to discipline yourself and not take anything for granted," Trinidadian Bravo told the Jamaica Observer in a predawn telephone interview from Colombo on Tuesday.
Bravo, who was speaking on behalf of ESPNCricinfo.com, said that he was not disappointed that he did not make the final XI for the opening Group B match against Australia, which West Indies went down by 17 runs under the Duckworth/Lewis calculation after rain intervened last Saturday. He, however, added that he was still upbeat after rain, too, prevented him from batting against Ireland in the second match on Monday.
The talented left-hander, a cousin of legendary West Indies great, Brian Lara, said although he had not batted in any of the matches played so far, he remained focussed and well prepared for what is ahead.
"I didn't play in the first match and didn't get to bat in the second, but I have always prepared myself to be ready for cricket, so I would not say that my preparations have been affected," Bravo stated.
"I believe that my team has the ability to go on and win the tournament, we have some good players and I am confident that we can go all the way," he said.
Although the focus now is on the Twenty20 tournament, Bravo believes the real challenge in international cricket for any player is the longest version of the game — Test cricket.
"Test cricket is close to my heart, but whatever I'm asked to do I go and perform to the best of my ability. So if it's 50-over cricket, or Twenty20, you just have to believe in yourself and go out and perform," said the man who has played 19 Test matches with 1,420 runs at an average of 44 per innings.
Bravo, younger brother of current West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, has also played 40 One-Day internationals and will likely run out for his seventh Twenty20 match for the Caribbean team when they oppose defending champions England in the first quarter-final or Eights match tomorrow.
"To be quite honest, I think Test cricket is the ultimate. For every young cricketer growing up, his goal should be to play Test cricket, but it's still very important that you establish yourself in all formats.
"I think I have the ability to play every format. It's just a question of adapting and examining the position of the game and go out and execute.
"But we all know that Test cricket is where you want to make your mark and I want to go out and do that," Bravo said, admitting he was concentrating on ironing out certain kinks and areas of weakness in his game that should make him a better cricketer in years to come.
"As cricketers, we all have our flaws that we obviously want to improve on. Tactically, there is always something that you want to make better.
"That's why it is important that when you go to practice you put out your best to improve on your technical skills, which I believe I have been doing," he said.
He admitted that his mentor in cricket is Lara, the holder of Test cricket's individual batting record of 400 not out in an innings against England, and a first-class best of 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham in English County Cricket.
"Obviously, Brian Lara stands out, but I look up to the rest of the players on the team for guidance.
"As a youngster you have to speak with the more experienced players if you want to improve your game," Bravo said.
ESPNCricinfo has a multi-platform offering around the T20 World Cup, including a new ipad app.