MUMBAI, India, CMC– West Indies, boasting a flamboyant opener and a powerful line-up of all-rounders, will launch their quest for the T20 World Cup when they face England here today.
A large crowd is expected at the Wankhede Stadium to see Chris Gayle and the 2012 champions battle the Englishmen as World Cup cricket fever rises from 10am Eastern Caribbean Time/9am Jamaica Time.
West Indies will also be relying heavily on their quartet of all-rounders: Dwayne Bravo, Captain Darren Sammy, Carlos Braithwaite and Andre Russell who are known for destroying bowling attacks.
“We’re fired up. We’re ready for this. We’re ready to win it again for the people of the West Indies the same way we did it back in 2012 in Sri Lanka,” declared Sammy.
“We have 15 potential match winners in our dressing room. All the guys in the dressing room are fired up”.
West Indies, without key players the likes of mystery spinner Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard, are entering the T20 World Cup as the number two team in the ICC rankings after a brief stint as number one, earlier this year.
But the Windies skipper is not taking their opening fixture against their lower ranked opponent lightly.
“England is a good side,” said Sammy.
“They have good players as well and they will come and look to adjust themselves to the conditions. Whether we have the advantage of the conditions, we will see tomorrow”.
West Indies are on a high after defeating top contender Australia in their second official warm-up match in which Sammy roared to an unbeaten 50 off 28 balls, Braithwaite blasted 33 off 14 and Russell 29 off 15.
Russell was the IPL’s Most Valuable Player last year, won the Big Bash League with the Sydney Thunder and played a key role in Islamabad United’s victorious campaign in the first Pakistan Super League.
Gayle is the second highest run-getter in World T20s.
“We have one of the most destructive T20 batsmen at the top with Chris [Gayle]. Obviously Chris is a massive figure but you look at the dressing room and we’ve also got [Dwayne] Bravo, Russell, Sammy, Jason [Holder] and Carlos Brathwaite … that’s a lot of power,” said Sammy.
“The key for us is each player accepting their personal role in the team and being responsible. Not leaving it for anyone else. Whoever is out there batting well has to have that impact on that day”.
In the tournament’s history, the 2012 champions have failed to make the knockouts twice and have advanced to the semi-finals on two occasions.