Brathwaite one the best cricketers in the world: Tino Best
Carlos Brathwaite has made the metamorphosis from relative popularity to an overnight sensation after his heroics of smashing four successive sixes in the final over of the ICC World Twenty20 2016 to take West Indies to their second title.
At the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday (April 3), West Indies needed 19 to win off the last over with Brathwaite on strike up against Ben Stokes. "First one over square leg, six! YES!" exclaimed Darren Sammy, the West Indian captain after the game when asked to describe the last over from the dugout.
"Come on Carlos! Second one, where it did go, deep midwicket? Long on? YES! Come on Carlos! One more hit away and you know..the third ball - six again! Ramdin thought we won. He was halfway on the field.
"Jerome Taylor sat in the dugout and said we'll win with two balls to spare and he was spot on," a beaming Sammy added.
That was not the only prophecy that turned out to be true in the larger scheme of things.
Having made his One-Day International debut in 2011 against Bangladesh, Brathwaitefaded away in due time. However, the Caribbean Premier League season of 2015 proved to be the breakthrough he was looking for. He was subsequently picked to make his Test debut later in the year against Australia and when Kieron Pollard was down and out with a knee injury, Brathwaite was named as the replacement in the T20 squad.
Brathwaite was the point of contention in this part of the world and surged into the spotlight after the IPL auction in February 2016 where Delhi Daredevils bought him for a whopping Rs 4.2 crore against his base price of 30 lakh. The auction was around when the inaugural edition of the Masters Champions League was underway in Dubai.
When the news of Brathwaite's auction returns was made known, Tino Best, the former West Indian paceman, was full of praise for the 27-year-old, saying he's one of the best cricketers in the world.
"We have a lot of talent in the West Indies," Tino Best told Cricbuzz in February. "I know until today you never heard of a kid called Carlos Brathwaite. He is one of the better cricketers coming from Barbados. He just went for big money in the IPL and everyone wondered who that was. You will see.
"He is one of the best cricketers in the world. He's kind of like Andre Russell; he's big and tall and he hits the ball far. And he backs himself. He's also a very good fielder and a very good all-round cricketer. I'm very happy for him because it shows you how much talent we have in Barbados.
"I always felt like Barbados should've been a cricketing nation by itself because the amount of talent we have is unbelievable," added Best.
Distinct cricketing nation or not, Barbados has produced myriad talent for the West Indies. What came as a lucky break for Brathwaite has been turned into a pot of gold for him heading into the Indian Premier League.
Despite all the pressure of a final, he finished with an unbeaten 34 off 10 balls in addition to his 3 for 23 in the first innings in the final - something that will hold him in good stead come the ninth season of the IPL.
It will come as little surprise if the burly allrounder validates the faith invested in him which will bode well for the Delhi Daredevils, who have consistently underachieved and have been in the pursuit for a pot of gold themselves.