West Indies will go to Sri Lanka as favourites
The West Indies will commence the 2012 20/20 World Cup event in Sri Lanka as the favourites in a major cricket tournament for the first time since 1979, when the Clive Lloyd-led team defended their 50 Overs World Cup title against England. This is evident because of the team’s unpredictability and the presence of Christopher Gayle and Sunil Narine, two outstanding T20 stars, along with a host of exciting all-rounders that the game relies on for clinical execution. Such factors along with a much more assured captain whose first Test century and series win against New Zealand are encouraging signals of a confident West Indies team. It is not often in recent times that such a tag will be placed on the side, but its major players have become internationally feared including Gayle, Narine, Pollard, Smith and Bravo due to their exploits around the world. The docile pitches and climatic conditions as well will be more familiar to the team, since they are similar to those in India where most of the players would have played, either in the IPL or the Champion’s League.
Their efforts at winning the World Cup, however, will rely heavily on the team’s composure during the critical stages, given the tendencies that have plagued the West Indies ever so often. Yet there is considerable hope when one looks at Dwayne Smith, whose trademark leg-side bias can no longer be his strength. He can now execute shots all around the wicket, which will make him less a target of quality bowlers. Then there is the calmness of Christopher Gayle, who knows about making hundreds with regularity; Sunil Narine who can bowl with assurance; and the competent all-rounders, including the captain, whose form will determine the eventual target the team achieves.
Historically it is the only title which has eluded the West Indies. Their Test supremacy under Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and Richie Richardson for over a decade; their one day World Cup glory; and the ICC 50 Overs triumph, have made the West Indian nation a dominant force in cricket. It is this rich history that should inspire the present team to play to their full potential and ensure that it remains the best in the world in this version of the game. As the tournament begins, as the anthem says, the fans must rally around the West Indies until Sammy holds aloft that coveted trophy which the team is capable of winning.