Gujarat Lions are not in a happy place following a poor start to IPL 2017, which sees them languish at the bottom of the points table but things seemed to be looking up after they managed to beat a high-flying Kolkata Knight Riders. But on Sunday, ahead of their match against Kings XI Punjab in Rajkot, bad news struck again as news filtered in that their star West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo will miss the entirety of the 10th edition of the Twenty20 tournament. Gujarat owner Keshav Bansal tweeted the news and captain Suresh Raina corroborated it during the toss presentation.
Gujarat have managed to win just two matches out of the six they have played so far, meaning they have just four points and a poor run-rate sees them occupy last place. They have sorely missed the services of Bravo and have failed to find right balance in their team.
Owner Keshav Bansal took to Twitter and put up a picture of himself with Bravo to break the news.
Going to miss this Champion! Unfortunately he has been ruled out this season due to injury! I wish him all the best for a speedy recovery! pic.twitter.com/XkKiMN9ojt— Keshav Bansal (@KeshavBansal08) April 23, 2017
Raina then confirmed that Bravo had been ruled out and he would be speaking to the team management find Bravo's replacement.
"Yes, Dwayne Bravo has been ruled out of the tournament. He had been doing all the rehab but just couldn't take the heat. Would need another few weeks to get ready. We need to have a chat with the management and see who could be the replacement," Raina said at the toss between Gujarat and Punjab at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
Bravo later made a statement and said the decision to pull out of IPL 2017 was one of the hardest.
"It is with deep regret that I announce my decision to withdraw from the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League, owing to my hamstring injury," Bravo said in a statement. I have been with the Gujarat Lions squad since the beginning of their IPL 2017 campaign, undergoing my rehab on the sidelines, in the hope of returning to the cricket field in the second half of the tournament," Bravo said in a statement.
"While recovery is going well and I have made vast improvement and have participated in team trainings with the Lions, my body is not ready to perform at its fullest potential. I have the deepest respect for the calibre of players and sportsmanship at the IPL and undoubtedly have the love and support of the best sports fans in the world. It is for them that I perform at my best every time I go on to the pitch," Bravo said.
"This is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make in my career but I do believe withdrawal from this season of the IPL will allow me to perform at my best later on in the year," he added.
Gujarat had topped the table in IPL 2016 and looked like one of the best outfits last season. One of Gujarat's big performers was a certain 'DJ Bravo'. The West Indian might not have done much with the bat but picked up 17 wickets with a best performance of four for 22.
Bravo has been one of the most consistent performers in the IPL. He is right up there with the best and his performance with Chennai Super Kings was crucial to their cause.
The West Indian has played a whopping 106 IPL matches overall and is fifth in the list of all-time highest wicket-takers. He has 122 scalps to his name, same as third-placed Harbhajan Singh and fourth-placed Piyush Chawla. He has a better strike rate than the duo but because of his higher economy rate is behind them in the list.
Lasith Malinga leads the list with 147 wickets to his name ahead of leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who has taken 131 wickets.