A good start will be vital for the West Indies as they host the 2010 ICC World Twenty20, which gets underway on Friday, 30th April, according to captain Chris Gayle.
Gayle has recently returned to the Caribbean after playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the third season of the Indian Premier League and he is confident that his side will perform despite the pressure of being the home side.
“This will be a big tournament for each and everyone one of us. It is a chance to step up and be counted. We have a balanced team and all the players are looking to make their mark," Gayle said.
"Everyone knows their role in the team and should be taking up the responsibility again of making the Caribbean proud in this tournament.”
Gayle led from the front in 2009, when the West Indies reached the semi-finals of the tournament in England, putting behind them the disappointment of a first-round exit in 2007, when Gayle became the first man to score a century in Twenty20 International cricket.
“We had a very good outing in England in last year’s World T20," he added. "We reached the semifinals and I thought we did very well. We started that Tournament as outsiders and we managed to play some really good cricket and reach the final four.
"This time around we are at home where we know these conditions better than anyone else so this will be to our advantage. At the same time that comes with pressure, the expectations from our supporters will be very high … We hope the fans will turn out and support us and we promise them some good performances.”
And Gayle is happy with the way the side has prepared for the tournament, which sees the hosts take on England and Ireland in the initial group stage.
“The team has been preparing very well. They played extremely well and won all the matches in the Jamaica Cricket Association Festival, and the rest us are coming back from the IPL and will be looking to play our part. We have a lot of guys in the team who can be match-winners and good performers.
"What we will be looking forward will be a good start, make the second round and move on from there. It will not be an easy road. It will be very competitive over the next few week, but it will be enjoyable.”
Before the tournament begins, the West Indies play New Zealand on 28th April in a warm-up.
West Indies ICC WT20 squad: Chris Gayle (Captain), Dwayne Bravo (Vice Captain), Shiv Chanderpaul, Andre Fletcher, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Narsingh Deonarine, Wavell Hinds, Denesh Ramdin, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Sulieman Benn, Nikita Miller, Jerome Taylor, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach.
© Cricket World 2010