Brilliant Brathwaite must build on World T20 heroics
When Delhi Daredevils splashed the cash on Carlos Brathwaite at the 2016 IPL auction, eyebrows - including those of the player himself - were raised.
The 27-year-old, who has little domestic experience outside the Caribbean, went into his first auction with a base price of around $30,000, but found himself at the centre of a bidding war between the Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Brathwaite's price tag rocketed to roughly $630,000 in a lucrative move few had predicted but, following the all-rounder's starring role for West Indies in the World Twenty20 final, it looks to be a shrewd acquisition.
Brathwaite did not so much hog the limelight as own it as the Windies became the first team to win a second World T20 title, claiming a four-wicket victory over England in Kolkata on Sunday.
With his side needing 19 runs from the final over at Eden Gardens, Brathwaite stepped up to sensationally hit Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes and wrap up a memorable win in the most emphatic fashion.
Marlon Samuels may have picked up the man-of-the-match award for his record-breaking 85 off 66 balls, but it was Brathwaite - quick to pay tribute to his team-mate's contribution - who dominated the headlines for his scintillating late showing, having already picked up 3-23 with the ball.
The Daredevils will hope Brathwaite is more than just a flash in the pan after making the cricket world sit up and take notice with his barnstorming performance.
And there is no doubting Delhi have one of the hottest properties in T20 cricket on their hands - Brathwaite was afforded a hero's welcome upon his arrival this week, with fans gathering to sing Dwayne - or DJ - Bravo's 'Champion' anthem in a hotel lobby.
Those supporters may now see Brathwaite as central to their ambitions of reaching the IPL play-offs for the first time since 2012, but the man of the moment is just one of a number of big-money recruits set to boost that bid.
Pawan Negi, Chris Morris, Sanju Samson and Karun Nair are all among the new additions to a team that already boasts Imran Tahir, JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock and Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Daredevils by their very nature will err on the side of risk-taking, as demonstrated by the franchise's blinkered pursuit of this relatively unknown and unproven quantity at February's auction.
However, following Brathwaite's World T20 heroics on Indian soil, those who pushed through his signing will be confident this is one risk that might just pay off.