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by Donovan Miller Tuesday 29 March 2016
With Chris Gayle delighting the crowds in India, we thought it appropriate to get Donovan Miller, who directs the Chris Gayle Academy, to give us his thoughts on the ICC World T20 2016.
The ICC World T20 has been brilliant to watch, and I'm not too surprised that it has turned out to be a cracking tournament so far. There is a lot of buzz around and the World Cup is making a big impact.
The guys at the Chris Gayle Academy are loving it too. There is lots of banter flying around about who is going to make the final, and who is going to get knocked out. I let some of them have the day off to watch India-Pakistan.
I've been impressed by how the West Indies have come together as a team and there is clearly good team spirit among them. Andre Fletcher, who some people may not have seen a lot of, has added an extra dimension to his game and now looks like someone who has improved a lot and understands his role now - the way he plays against the spinners, rotating the strike and sticks to his strengths. It has been good to see him coming of age.
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Despite the defeat to Afghanistan, I will still say it is 'so far, so good' for the West Indies. You could argue England could have lost to Afghanistan, and so could South Africa. They haven't surprised me, Afghanistan, they look like a good unit, and knowing the West Indian camp I don't think that game will bother them too much. If anything, I think it will spur them on and it could be the kick they need to make sure they are on the ball for the semi-final.
A word on Afghanistan - it's really really good to see their progress and they are playing some good cricket. They have good spinners, some good youngsters and guys who can bowl quick as well and not many teams in the world have that.
It would be a shame if they don't get to play in future World Cups so I think the ICC needs to look at getting Afghanistan and other teams involved. We need to continue spreading the game.
Looking ahead to the first semi-final, for England I see Jos Buttler as the danger man but I also think there is a good innings in Eoin Morgan. He has shown signs of a return to form against Sri Lanka and I think he will come good in the semi-final.
England have an advantage as they have played twice in Delhi already. They'll be familiar with conditions and confident at the moment. They are a dangerous side and I doubt many people will agree with me but I wouldn't be surprised if they pull off a win.
Don't completely rule out New Zealand though. They get their tactics right most of the time and play conditions well. They've also managed to do this while leaving out Trent Boult and Tim Southee, which shows there is massive belief in the squad.
The one thing for me is that they haven't posted a massive total, although you could argue they haven't played on a wicket which has allowed them to post more than 180.
They've been impressive, but I think England would rather play New Zealand in a semi-final than any of the other sub-continent sides (or the West Indies). I think it's going to be a good game tomorrow and I'm giving England the slight edge.
Mumbai hosts the second semi-final where all attention will be on Virat Kohli. He's a genius. He has the whole of India behind him at the moment, people say he is the new Sachin Tendulkar, and he will be such a dangerous player for the West Indies.
However, India have so many other fine players, they are playing at home in their conditions, but so much will depend on what sort of wicket is prepared.
With Sulieman Benn doing well with the ball and Samuel Badree being the number one ranked T20I bowler, West Indies have dangerous weapons of their own. A lot will depend on the toss, which will be crucial. It's clear that the West Indies back themselves to chase anything down and given they haven't set a target yet in the tournament, they will feel better doing that.
There will inevitably be lots of focus around Chris Gayle. No matter what wicket is prepared, if he bats for 15 overs, he will probably take the game away from India. He's going to get runs, big runs and get them quickly as well if that happens.
India will have formed some tactics to try to get him out but just look at his record in India - he has played against these guys for many years in the IPL, and scored a lot of runs against them.
Knowing him, he will be going into the game not worrying about anything. He will just go and play his game and if it comes off for him, West Indies will win.
It'll be a close game, but I don't think India will have everything their way and the West Indies might just cause an upset.
BONUS: Here's Gayle himself previewing the semi-final:
Donovan Miller became a coach at the tender age of 20, and now runs his own coaching company, directs the Chris Gayle Academy and works with Essex CCC.
© Cricket World 2016