BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC Title-hungry England arrived in Barbados on Sunday evening, eyeing West Indies as “dangerous” opponents but confident they could conjure enough magic to win the World Twenty20 Championship.
England will clash with the West Indies and neighbours Ireland in Group D of the preliminary round in Guyana, in the April 30 to May 16 showpiece which brings together 12 nations for 27 games spread across three countries.
Captain Paul Collingwood, who arrived ahead of the team from his stint in the Indian Premier League, told reporters they had been paying close attention to the recent one-day matches played in Guyana and were already streamlining their strategy for the Windies clash.
“We’re playing down in Guyana and we’ve seen quite a lot of the games against Zimbabwe down there and the pitch is going to be totally different to the one at the Oval [last year when England lost to West Indies],” Collingwood said Sunday.
“So there will be different tactics and different ways of approaching that game against West Indies. They’re a dangerous side like anybody in this competition is dangerous because nobody really quite knows how this Twenty20 cricket really goes.”
Playing at home in the WT20 last year, England were upset by the unfancied Netherlands in the tournament-opener but rebounded to beat eventual champions Pakistan and reach the Super Eight, second round.
Needing a win in their final match of the second round to reach the semi-finals, England were beaten by West Indies in a rain-affected game at the Oval to crash out of the competition.
Collingwood said, however, the scenario would be different this time around when they met the Chris Gayle-led unit.
“After the Netherlands game last year, I thought we played some very good cricket,” Collingwood recalled.
“I think that game [against West Indies] we were a little bit hampered by the Duckworth/Lewis … I thought we probably deserved a little bit more out of that but this time it’s obviously completely different conditions and as a team we’ve really got to adapt quickly to different wickets.”
Collingwood said he was well aware that England had gone trophy-less in a multi-team tournament for some while, and said the team was anxious to break that jinx.
“We’re desperate to win a trophy, we’re desperate to do well and we see this as a great opportunity to change things around,” the upbeat Durham all-rounder said.
“We’ve gotten into a couple of finals in the past but never nailed those results down to win a trophy so we see this as a huge opportunity. The squad are very excited about the next few weeks here and we believe we can do something pretty special here.”
The squad arrived without star batsman Kevin Pietersen who played in the third place playoff off the IPL on Saturday before flying back to England.
Collingwood assured that Pietersen’s late arrival, along with the recent travel crisis which almost scuppered their timely arrival in the Caribbean, had not impacted the team’s preparations.
“Obviously what happened over the past couple of weeks we could have never foreseen but everyone is here and raring to go,” Collingwood emphasised.
“I don’t think it’s going to be any issue. Kevin is going to arrive in a couple of days. Obviously Jess (Pietersen’s wife) is pregnant so that gives him an opportunity to get home for a couple of days [but] again that will not be a problem.”
England play their opening match of the tournament against West Indies on May 3 at the National Stadium at Providence.