Delhi, India — Kraigg Brathwaite stood at the other end on Sunday, watching his mentor Shivnarine Chanderpaul score his 24th Test century. Brathwaite, the 18-year-old in his just fourth Test match, played a crucial role as he and the 37-year-old veteran added 108 precious runs for the fourth wicket against India on the first day of the first Test.
Brathwaite made 63 off 212 balls with four boundaries – his second Test match half-century following the 50 he made against Bangladesh in Dhaka last week. Chanderpaul closed the opening day on 111 not out off 167 balls – his 24th Test century – as the West Indies reached 256-5 on a good batting surface at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
Brathwaite patterns himself on Chanderpaul so it was special for him to form the partnership and rescue West Indies after they slipped to 72-3 in the post-lunch session. When Chanderpaul made his Test debut in March 1994, Brathwaite was one year old. Sunday’s effort was Brathwaite’s first Test knock against India and he was happy to showcase his ability.
“I’m feeling quite comfortable playing at this level but nothing at this level is easy. I know I have to work hard for my runs. I don’t really feel out of my league. I really wanted to get a hundred … I always think about hundreds. I want to send the message that I can play at this level and prove my worth,” said Brathwaite, who is a first year student at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies.
“Batting with Shiv was good for me. From a young age I always admired Shiv and to bat with him in a Test match against India in India was a special moment for me. He really helped me through the tough periods. After he came out after lunch he told me to be positive and let them bowl in the areas where I want to score. I was able to score more freely.”
Brathwaite has a track record of being a high scorer. He was dominant as a schoolboy in Barbados while at the Combermere School, which has several well-know former students including cricket legends Sir Frank Worrell and Wes Hall, and singer Rihanna.
He said the Indian bowling attack gave him a stern test.
“It was a real test for me. The plan before I went out was the give the team a solid foundation and look to bat time, and bat for long periods. The pitch was quite slow and the faster bowlers did not give you a lot of balls to drive. They were mainly bowling back-of-a-length and you had to fight. It required discipline and concentration and I had to fulfil my duty. That is what they picked me to do … bat long and look to get runs,” he said.
“The ball was not really coming on to the bat and I had to be patient. The spinners were quite consistent and accurate and I had to be watchful. There were not a lot of bad balls, so I know I had to pick off as many runs as I could get and look to rotate the strike.”