Sammy likes Windwards chances as CL spot beckons

ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Windward Islands captain Darren Sammy believes his side’s chances are as good as any in the upcoming Caribbean T20 tournament.

“I don’t see why we can’t come out on top. Our strength is in our bowling and overall I would say the selectors have picked a very good all-round team,” said the West Indies all-rounder.

“Our batting will rely mainly on the experienced players – such as (Devon) Smith, (Andre) Fletcher, (Rawl) Lewis, Liam Sebastien, and myself.

“Most of the players in the team have the ability to bat and bowl so we have players who can contribute in two departments.”

Windward Islands selectors chose the 14-man squad on Sunday following the conclusion of the week-long Windward Islands T20 Tournament, won by Dominica.

Fletcher and Smith, both of whom have played for West Indies, will bring strength to the batting line-up and are currently in decent form following healthy performances on the Windies recent tour of the United Kingdom.

Pacer Nelon Pascal, who recently made his Test debut, will lead the attack with the support of enterprising off-spinner Shane Shillingford who came to prominence recently when he played in the three Tests against South Africa.

“We have Shillingford, Sebastien, and Lewis who are very economical bowlers and I know they will do very well for us,” said Sammy.

“We also have a number of players who are coming through and I’m very satisfied with the squad assembled. I am confident we can go to Barbados, qualify for the final four, and take it from there.”

The Windwards will do battle in Zone B alongside Barbados, Guyana and Combined Campuses & Colleges, and open their campaign against Guyana on July 23 at Kensington Oval.

Zone A includes Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Canada, with the top two teams from each grouping qualifying for the semi-finals scheduled for Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago on July 30.

With the winning team qualifying for the Airtel Champions League in South Africa in September, Sammy said this motivation could not be ignored.

“We have seen over the years that teams are closer together in the Twenty20 format. Whoever plays the better cricket on the day will win. Our chances are very good,” Sammy pointed out.

“The Champions League is a massive incentive. All the teams will fancy their chances and will be gunning to make it to South Africa in September.

“We saw what Trinidad and Tobago did for the region in India last year and that should be a form of motivation for all teams – to go out and represent on the world stage.

In the Windwards camp we are very excited. We will take it one game at a time and enjoy every moment.”

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