Kraigg Brathwaite is the latest in a stellar line of Caribbean kings to proudly wear the Bears shirt – and he’s already eagerly awaiting his return to Edgbaston next year, this time as West Indies captain.
Brathwaite is set to lead the Windies when they arrive in England next summer for a three-Test series that culminates at Edgbaston (Friday 26 to Tuesday 30 July).
The opener has captained the islanders 28 times and, by the end of next year, only Jason Holder, Brian Lara, Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd and Sir Garfield Sobers will have had the honour more times.
Brathwaite – who’s closing on 5,500 Test runs – has twice led the West Indies against England, including in March last year when he hit 160 in the second of three red ball games that acted as the springboard for England’s Bazball era.
But he’s never captained in England before and can’t wait to lead his teammates out in front of a “superb” Edgbaston crowd next summer.
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“Playing any series against England, whether in the UK or the Caribbean, it’s always great,” said the 30-year-old. “But in England the Barmy Army makes it even more special.
“I’m truly thankful to be the captain, it’s a great feeling, and you always look forward to matches against England, it’s one of our favourite series.
“I played at Edgbaston in the (2017) pink ball, day-night Test. I remember the outfield was rapid, the pitch was a good one, and there was a very nice atmosphere.
“I must say the crowd in Birmingham really came out for the occasion. We lost the match but the atmosphere was superb, I really enjoyed the crowd, so hopefully next year we’ll have that great atmosphere once again.”
The West Indies have two Test dates in Australia in the New Year before their England series starts Lord’s (10-14 July), moving on to Trent Bridge (18-22 July) and then the potentially decisive finale at Edgbaston.
Brathwaite said he and his Windies colleagues always get a great reception at English cricket grounds.
“I think English supporters really love the West Indies,” he added, “and we appreciate them a lot. A lot of people would have grown up during the great days of West Indian cricket, and we have a job now to keep aspiring to make West Indians proud.
“It’s important for us to put our best foot forward, and to put on a great show during a Test in England, that’s the best place to show the world what we can do.
“It’s an absolute honour to captain the West Indies and I’m following some of the greats in the game. I’m enjoying it, it’s an important job because we’re made up of a lot of islands, people with different personalities, so a very important job bringing everyone together to play as one.
“A few of the guys have never played in England, I know they will be excited, we always look forward to playing against England, it’ll be a great series.”
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