Sammy says fresh start for West Indies
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – West Indies captain Darren Sammy says his side have put the thrill of winning the Twenty20 World Cup behind them, and are prepared to work hard in order to defend their title later this month.
Sammy, who was at the helm when the Windies beat hosts Sri Lanka in the final two years, believes the tournament in Bangladesh from March 16 to April 6, represents a new start for everyone involved but is confident his charges possess the quality to be successful.
“It is a great feeling to be World champions but that’s all gone. When we get to Bangladesh it’s a fresh start and everyone’s got do again what they did in Sri Lanka [two years ago],” Sammy told reporters here.
“Which is to play as a team, play for the people and the goal was to win the title. This time around it is to defend the title and the lads are quite confident and they’ve been working hard in order for us to retain that title.”
He continued: “We will miss the services of (Kieron) Pollard who is one of our most experienced T20 players [but] we are now much more experienced. Guys have gained more exposure all over the world and we still have the core in the team and we know once we go out there and perform to our full potential we will be T20 champions.”
In 2012, West Indies rode their luck in the group stage. They lost their opener to Australia via the Duckworth/Lewis Method while their final match against Ireland finished in a no-result. It allowed them to squeak through to the Super Eight, second round by virtue of a superior net run rate.
Once there, they beat England, lost to Sri Lanka before again needing a degree of luck to edge New Zealand in a thrilling super over, to reach the semi-finals.
Chris Gayle came good in the semis win over Australia and Marlon Samuels’ brilliance sealed the final, and Sammy believes that with these type of players in the side that West Indies would be challenging again.
“We have 12 or so West Indians playing in the [IPL] which to me it’s good exposure for us as a region and for our players,” he explained.
“The Pollards, the Gayles, the Bravos, the Narines are all marquee player in the IPL and to have all these guys in one team, it sounds really good for me as captain.”
He added: “Cricket is about being comfortable. It’s about going out there on the pitch and trying to execute to the best of our abilities. Probably we might perform better in certain formats but on any given day, once the West Indies team play to their full potential they can compete with anybody in the world.
“Yes we won the title but it is going to be a challenging task to go out there and defend it but I believe we have the quality in the dressing room to do that.”
West Indies will do battle in Group 2 alongside, India, Australia, Pakistan and yet-to-be determined qualifier.