KANDY, Sri Lanka, CMC – Captain Darren Sammy believes the two-match Twenty20 International series starting here tonight (9:30am Eastern Caribbean time) represents West Indies’ best chance of securing a result on what has been a hugely disappointing tour of Sri Lanka.
The Caribbean side were swept by handy margins in the two-Test series and suffered a 3-0 clean sweep in the rain-affected One-Day International series that followed, leaving them without success on the tour.
However, Sammy said T20 represented a format in which West Indies were most comfortable and therefore was expecting the side to be successful.
“I think we’re now playing a format which we enjoy, in a place where we have played it the best, and the last time we were here we had good memories so we’re looking forward to the tournament,” said Sammy.
“It is a different format and one we’re pretty good at so we’re looking forward to the contest.”
The former Test and one-day captain, Sammy was one of three players joining the limited overs squad already here, with the pair of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard also arriving.
And with the likes of Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels and Sunil Narine already in the line-up, West Indies are expected to be a handful for the hosts.
Under Sammy, West Indies won the Twenty20 World Cup back in 2012 when they beat Sri Lanka in the final, and still have fond memories of the triumph.
This year, however, they have not played a competitive series for several months but Sammy does not expect this to be a hindrance especially with several key players involved in a Twenty20 leagues across the globe this year.
“The last international T20 we played was back in January in South Africa but after that we’ve played a few tournaments [as players],” Sammy explained.
“Some of our guys are playing all over the world but we have put in some practice yesterday and today (Sunday), so hopefully the rest of the squad that has been here they should be acclimatised to the conditions and will be looking to bring their experience and play a format we enjoy playing.”
Sri Lanka have selected a youthful squad for the series, with the likes of Binura Fernando and Jeffrey Vandersay and all-rounder Shehan Jayasuriya, included to face the Windies.
Sammy said, however, West Indies would not be taking anything for granted as T20 came down to execution on the day and not personnel.
“Whichever opposition we play we will pay them the full respect that they deserve, especially in T20 that narrows the gap between the number one and number eight side,” he pointed out.
“Whoever executes on the day, the team that sticks to the basics and absorbs pressure the most or apply the pressure the most, normally end up victorious. It’s going to be good contest between bat and ball especially with Sri Lanka coming from winning the one-day and the Test series.
“They are a good side playing at home and I believe we have a good side as well. We just hope on the day cricket is the winner, and also West Indies.”
SQUAD – Darren Sammy (captain), Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor.