Saturday 15 March 2014 

ICC World Twenty20 2014 Preview - West Indies

Andre Russell hits out
Can Andre Russell help make up for the loss of the injured Kieron Pollard?
© REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte. Picture Supplied by Action Images
 

The West Indies should be ideally suited to the conditions expected in Bangladesh. They have a raft of spin bowlers and medium-pacers that are perfect for Twenty20 cricket and a glut of all-rounders that means they bat deep. Allied to this is their strong recent form against England and the fact that their players have plenty of experience in the various franchise T20 competitions around the world.

The major weakness is probably their top-order batting. If Chris Gayle fails to fire, then there isn’t necessarily always the firepower there to make up for him and a lot rests on their all-rounders later on. Dwayne Smith is yet to prove himself at the top of the order and as only a relatively late addition to their squad, while the likes of Andre Fletcher and Johnson Charles are yet to prove themselves at international level.

With this in mind, Lendl Simmons and Marlon Samuels could end up being crucial in the middle-order as they may find themselves rescuing the innings and building a platform for the firepower to come. That firepower includes the likes of Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy, who has shown himself particularly handy in the closing stages of an innings of late. They are without the dangerous Kieron Pollard due to a knee injury, but will hope that he will not be missed too much.

As mentioned, the bowling attack should be ideally suited to conditions. Left-arm seamer Krishmar Santokie was something of a revelation against England and is an archetypal Twenty20 specialist, with Samuels Badree also most at home in the game’s shortest form, opening the bowling with his quick leg-breaks. Sunil Narine, meanwhile, is a threat in most conditions.

The pace attack is definitely the weaker link, with Ravi Rampaul the only experienced head in the absence of the injured Kemar Roach, and Sheldon Cottrell and Russell having a tendency to be expensive.

West Indies’ form in previous tournaments does little to tell us how they will fare in Bangladesh. They have finished in just about every stage possible, from losing to Bangladesh in 2007 to be knocked out at the first hurdle, to failing to progress from the Super Eights and, of course, winning last time out in Sri Lanka.

This time, they have possibly the stronger of the two groups, with the in-form Australia, the ever-dangerous India, and the mercurial Pakistan all set to play them. It is therefore virtually impossible to predict how they will do, but they will hope to qualify for the semi-finals and then anything is possible.

Recent Form:
2013-14 – WWWLLLLLWWWL
13th February: beat Australia by 27 runs in Brisbane
2nd March: beat Zimbabwe by 8 wickets in Antigua
3rd March: beat Zimbabwe by 41 runs in Antigua
27th July: lost to Pakistan by 2 wickets in St Vincent
28th July: lost to Pakistan by 11 runs in St Vincent
11th January: lost to New Zealand by 81 runs at Eden Park
15th January: lost to New Zealand by 4 wickets at Westpac Stadium
19th February: lost to Ireland by 6 wickets at Sabina Park
21st February: beat Ireland by 11 runs at Sabina Park
9th March: beat England by 27 runs in Barbados
11th March: beat England by 5 wickets
13th March: lost to England by 5 runs

Previous Tournament Performances:
2007: Didn’t progress from Group A after losing to Bangladesh and South Africa
2009: Lost in Semi-Final to Sri Lanka
2010: Didn’t progress from Super Eight Group F after losing to Sri Lanka and Australia
2012: Champions after beating Sri Lanka in Final

Tournament Fixtures:
Group 2 opponents: Australia, India, Pakistan, Qualifier from Group A
23rd March: v India in Mirpur
25th March: v Qualifier in Mirpur
28th March: v Australia in Mirpur
1st April: v Pakistan in Mirpur

Squad: Darren Sammy (captain), Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Krishmar Santokie, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.

© Cricket World 2014