Kraigg Brathwaite admits he’s ‘thankful for the opportunity’ as he dropped everything back home to head help Warwickshire close out the season in good form.

With Alex Davies and Rob Yates both ruled out, the West Indies opener and captain answered Mark Robinson’s SOS call on Thursday night.

Once contracts and logistics were sorted, Brathwaite hopped on a plane and arrived in London on Saturday night – the evening before the Bears opening day clash at the Kia Oval.

“I arrived Saturday evening, but I was in a good space and had a good night’s sleep,” said the 30-year-old. “During a Test series, you can have only two days in between so it’s something I’m used to, but, unfortunately, we didn’t do well in this game.

“I was at home and the coach gave me a call and I was certainly interested. I had a tour with the Barbados Select Team to Bermuda, leaving on Sunday, but I had to cancel that. I had a young team that I was looking forward to leading, but I did think this opportunity was right. I don’t have Test cricket until January so it came at a good time. I’m thankful for the opportunity.”

Speaking after the defeat to Surrey, Brathwaite was not only honest and reflective about the team’s performance, but his ambitions as well.

The Bears needed a top-order batter, whilst the right-hander wanted time in the middle and an opportunity to learn more about his game. It’s turned out to be a perfect fit.

“They played well, led by Kemar [Roach] who was outstanding,” added Brathwaite. “It wasn’t a great match for us, we didn’t take it deep into day four, but it’s important we finish well after this.

“Unfortunately for us [West Indies], we’ve only played six Test matches and we’ve got to play cricket. That’s the only way we’ll get better. The County Championship has several games and that’s great because guys will learn and go through all the processes such as failure and success. That’s how you learn. Coming here for me is important as we play Australia next year and we’ve got to be ready. Playing these games, playing against Surrey, and good county teams is important to get in that mind frame.

“For me, I keep it quite simple, to be honest, and I’m all about routine. Coming to England to play county cricket my routine won’t change, but you can always tweak it. Four-day or Test cricket is all mental, so to have your mind in the right space is always important. That’s always my advice to any batter, because the aim is to always score a hundred, but the majority of the time you don’t. Therefore, it’s always key to have a strong mind, keep believing in yourself that you can get the job done, and then try to find ways to improve. There are a lot of things you can think about, but the main thing is just to keep simple.

Brathwaite is experiencing his fifth stint in county cricket having played for Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Glamorgan and Gloucestershire.

At a time when the future of County Cricket is discussed heavily, the Barbadian gave it his stamp of approval.

“Any four-day cricket around the world, such as Australia and South Africa, there needs to be the right balance as a player,” concluded Brathwaite. “You have some guys that don’t play franchise cricket, but they may also not be able to get county stints. The leagues in England are still important, we have a few guys who may not be internationals, but they come here and play a season with a club which is good.

“Franchise cricket is good as you want players to make a living for themselves, but I would say that players who aren’t fully involved in the franchises should play any cricket they can get. England is good, because of the challenge. We’re not used to the cold, so coming here, feeling alone, mentally isn’t easy. Once you overcome that and do well, that helps the mental side of the game.

“You always learn and the teams I’ve played here have some good players with international bowlers, but you can always learn. You play in different conditions, but during this match, it was lovely with the sun out. When it’s overcast the ball does a bit more, especially on day one, so it’s always good to play county cricket.”

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