Bridgetown, Barbados — West Indies Captain Darren Sammy downplayed talk of his team being “favourites” for the upcoming International Cricket Council’s T20 World Cup.
The skipper said his only focus at this stage was the team’s preparations and readiness for the event in Sri Lanka.
“We have been hearing a lot of talk about us being favourites, but we don’t really see ourselves as favourites. We see ourselves as a team prepared to work hard to win the World T20 tournament for the people of the Caribbean. We will start with this camp here in Barbados and look to build momentum. When we arrive in Sri Lanka later this month we will look to continue that work and take it into the tournament,” Sammy said.
“We are focused. People saying that you are favourites doesn’t guarantee you a place in the final… it doesn’t guarantee you the cup. You’ve got to go out there and play and we as a team we’ve got to be cognisant of that and make sure we stay focused and take it game by game. Once we go out there and play like we’ve been playing in the last series (against New Zealand), we believe we are capable of winning.”
The 28-year-old allrounder was speaking as the Windies started their pre-tournament camp at the Sagicor High Performance at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies. The players will have training sessions all week as well as warm-up matches on Thursday and Saturday.
The World T20 tournament features the 12 best teams in the world and will be played from September 18 to October 7. The West Indies have been drawn in Group B alongside Australia and Ireland and both first round matches will be at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. West Indies open against the Aussies on Thursday, September 22 followed by a clash with the Irish on Monday, September 24.
Sammy said the West Indies will be banking on their experienced, world-rated players who have been dominant in the T20 format. The captain also noted that the team is determined to do better than they did in the last tournament in 2010 at home, when they failed to make the Final Four. The previous year they reached the semi-finals when the tournament was played in England.
“We have a few of the most experienced guys in T20 cricket in our squad and the squad looks very good. Once we go out there and play to our full potential, the way we know we can play, we stand a very good chance. The last time we played, we didn’t do quite as well as we wanted to this time around we aim to get it right,” Sammy said.
Full Squad: Darren Sammy (Captain), Dwayne Bravo (Vice Captain), Samuel Badree, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin (Wicket-keeper), Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith
Reserves: Sulieman Benn, Tino Best, Devon Thomas
Team Management: Ottis Gibson (Head Coach), Richie Richardson (Team Manager), Toby Radford (Assistant Coach), C.J. Clark (Physiotherapist), Hector Martinez-Charles (Strength & Conditioning Co-ordinator), Richard Berridge (Video & Statistical Analyst), Philip Spooner (Media Manager), Virgil Browne (Massage Therapist)
Thursday, Sept 13: vs Sri Lanka – NCC, Colombo
Monday, Sept 17: vs Afghanistan – P Sara Oval, Colombo
First round matches
Saturday, Sept 22: vs Australia – R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Monday, Sept 24: vs Ireland – R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Super Eight matches
Thursday, Sept 27: C1 v D2 – Pallekele
Thursday, Sept 27: A1 v B2 – Pallekele
Friday, Sept 28: D1 v C2 – Colombo
Friday, Sept 28: B1 v A2 – Colombo
Saturday, Sept 29: A1 v D2 – Pallekele
Saturday, Sept 29: C1 v B2 – Pallekele
Sunday Sept 30: B1 v C2 – Colombo
Sunday Sept 30: D1 v A2 – Colombo
Monday, Oct 1: B2 v D2 – Pallekele
Monday, Oct 1: A1 v C1 – Pallekele
Tuesday, Oct 2: B1 v D1 – Colombo
Tuesday, Oct 2: A2 v C2 – Colombo
Thursday, October 4: Super 8 Group 1-1 vs Super 8 Group 2-2 – R Premadasa Stadium
Friday, October 5: Super 8 Group 2-1 vs Super 8 Group 1-2 – R Premadasa Stadium
Grand Final: Sunday, October 7 – R Premadasa Stadium