West Indies fired up for ICC World Twenty20 - Darren Sammy
Having won the title in the 2012 edition of the tournament, West Indies are a team containing a number of star players in the T20I format.
With players like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Sammy and Andre Russell, West Indies have a batting line up that is capable of taking the game away from the opposition in a matter of a few overs.
In February, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine withdrew from the squad for the ICC World T20 and Sammy is confident that West Indies have the firepower to compensate for the absence of the duo.
“We’re all fired up.
“This is a format we’re really, really confident in.
“It’s always difficult to replace somebody like Narine or Pollard who’ve had so much experience here but then you have guys who come in who could have the same impact.
“Look at Carlos Brathwaite, Johnson Charles, Evin Lewis and Ashley Nurse – they bring a different variety which could be successful in our line-up.”
Stressing on the importance of beginning well in their first match of the tournament against England, Sammy is backing his experienced middle order to fire.
“If you look at our middle, where you have potentially Marlon (Samuels), Bravo, Ramdin, (Andre) Russell at six.
“Bravo is one of the most experienced as he has been playing in these conditions.
“We are playing (England) at the Wankhede is a more seamer-friendly track; the games that have been played at the IPL tell you that.
“It is up to us to set up the beginning well.”
With 16 centuries from 239 matches and 8726 runs in his T20 career, Gayle is the leading batsman in the shortest format of the game with extensive experience in all parts of the world.
Though Sammy accepts the importance of Gayle in the batting line up, he has denied that there is any extra pressure on the 36-year-old to perform given the abundance of power hitters in the team.
“There’s never too much pressure on Chris.
“Obviously, he’s a massive figure, but you look at the dressing room we have Bravo, Russell, Sammy, Jason (Holder), Carlos Braithwaite.
“That’s a lot of power, so the key for us is each player accepting their own personal role in the team and be responsible and not leaving it for any one person.
“Whoever is out there, batting well has to have that impact on that team.
“Whichever dressing room Chris Gayle is in, because he such a destructive figure - there always seems to be pressure for him to perform.
“But Chris is just gearing up to do what Chris has done throughout his T20 career.
“That is why he is the leading run-scorer in T20s and has, I think, 12 or 13 hundreds (16) and the next person has seven or six.”
In their second warm-up match prior to the start of the Super 10 stage, West Indies came back from behind to secure a three-wicket win against Australia.
In a chase of 162 runs, West Indies were down at 49 for five before Sammy led the revival with an unbeaten fifty along with cameos from Russell and Brathwaite.
Reflecting on the victory against Australia, Sammy feels that the game gave West Indies even more confidence in their ability to win matches from any situation.
Speaking about his own personal form, Sammy is looking to draw inspiration from India’s captain MS Dhoni and perform the role of a finisher for his team.
“Playing T20 all over, you gain experience.
“I am 32 years old and I have gained a lot of experience playing and being in the situation, especially batting at six or seven, most of the times you will get maximum eight overs unless the team really collapses.
“So I have developed a formula for my game.
“I have watched (MS) Dhoni do it all the time, just take the game all the way down to the last over, give yourself the best chance.
“As a captain, that lower order of ours and it always makes me smile.
“Russell, the last three tournaments he has played, he has been MVP of the tournament.
“You have the young and exciting Carlos, and myself.
“That game against Australia gave us more belief that from whatever position we are, once we keep calm, the job can be done.
“I’ve learnt my game and I am just finding a way to make it effective or successful for the team.”
West Indies, who are in the Group 1 of the Super 10 stage, will begin their campaign in the 2016 ICC World T20 with the game against England on 16th March in Mumbai.
© Cricket World 2016