ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Experienced all-rounder Omari Banks says he expects the team cohesion of the Leeward Islands to be their strength in the Caribbean Twenty20 tournament and says his side will not be intimidated by the bravado spouted by other teams.
“We have a good team and we will be backing ourselves to do well. We will be playing for each other,” said Banks, who has been appointed vice-captain of the side.
“Most of the guys have been playing together for a while now so we know and understand each other. Maybe you won’t get as much bravado from us as you would from other teams, but inside our hearts we are confident we can go in and give a really good show.” Leewards have been grouped in a Zone A against powerhouses Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, who won the last regional T20 tournament under the Allen Stanford auspices.
They will feature in the second match of the doubleheader on the opening day of the tournament against Jamaica before clashing with T&T two days later at the same venue. Their final preliminary match will be against Canada at the Queen’s Park Oval in T&T next week.
“We put our stuff down to our performances on the field. Twenty20 cricket is the kind of game that can change very, very quickly and we are fully aware of that,” said Banks.
“We won’t be worried about a lot of the big talk coming from some of the other teams. We are going to go out and play our style of cricket and look to create momentum and capitalize on our opportunities.” The Leewards will be led by hard-hitting all-rounder Wilden Cornwall and the team will also include West Indies batsman Runako Morton, left-hander Shane Jeffers, and Tonito Willett. West Indies A seamers Gavin Tonge and Lionel Baker, who have already played international cricket for the senior Windies, will lead the attack along with support from leg-spinner Anthony Martin.
“We have a mixture of good young players and some players who have been around for a while and who have made good contributions to Leeward Islands cricket over the years,” said Banks, who has played 10 Tests and five One-Day Internationals for West Indies but has not suited up for them in five years.
“We just ended the Leeward Islands T20 tournament and now we are in camp, so we are hoping to get everything right for the Caribbean T20. We have some good batsmen in form and the bowlers are also looking quite sharp.”