LONDON, CMC – West Indies intend to play today’s high-profile Twenty20 International against the ICC World XI at full throttle, in spite of the fact the match will serve as a fund-raiser to help with hurricane relief in the Caribbean.
The match, which brings together several global stars of the game, bowls off at Lord’s at 6 pm (1 pm Eastern Caribbean time), and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
Funds from the game will go towards the refurbishment of five stadia affected by the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria last September, including Test venues Windsor Park and the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium.
And though the contest is for charity, West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite told reporters the Caribbean side would be taking the game as seriously as they did any other international.
“For me personally, every time I put on the maroon for the West Indies, it is a proper full international game,” Brathwaite said.
“Obviously it has been listed as a charity game and the reason we’re playing the game is for charity but personally there’s a lot of pride involved and as a West Indies player and a West Indies captain and also a fan of West Indies cricket, every time you take the field I want to win and I want to give a hundred per cent.
“There won’t be any half-measures on my behalf, whether in a captain capacity or as a player, and I think I speak for the rest of the team when I say we’re going out there to entertain and ultimately to win.”
Brathwaite, who played in last Sunday’s Indian Premier League final for Hyderabad Sunrisers before jetting off to London, will be joined by several of the Windies leading stars.
Superstar opener Chris Gayle is a member of the squad, along with exciting all-rounder Andre Russell and big-hitting opener Evin Lewis, with the likes of leg-spinner Samuel Badree and resurgent wicketkeeper-batsman Denesh Ramdin included.
The World XI will be led by flamboyant Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi after England white-ball skipper Eoin Morgan was forced to pull out on Monday with a fractured finger.
Prolific Pakistan batsman Shoaib Malik will also feature along with 17-year-old Nepalese spin sensation Sandeep Lamichhane.
Though action on the field is expected to be the attraction, the bigger cause will be the purpose of the contest, organised as a collaborative effort by the England and Wales Cricket Board, the International Cricket Council, Cricket West Indies and the MCC.
Brathwaite reiterated the significance of the match, while also expressing the importance of the money to be raised.
“It is very important and I want to say personally thanks to all and sundry who [collaborated] to get it (match) up and running,” Brathwaite said.
“It is very proactive to have a [relief] fund and hopefully it is something that can be contributed to annually – you never know when disaster will strike.
“It (disaster) was very close to me. [West Indies A all-rounder] Kyle Mayers was lost in Dominica for quite a while and obviously it hit his family a lot harder. When it happens so close to home then you really understand the effects.”
He added: “I think I can speak for the majority, if not all the players, in saying it’s something that’s needed and hopefully it (fund) can be contributed to annually.”
ICC World XI – Shahid Afridi (captain), Sam Billings, Sam Curran, Tamim Iqbal, Tymal Mills, Dinesh Karthik, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Lamichhane, Mitchell McClenaghan, Shoaib Malik, Thisara Perera, Luke Ronchi, Adil Rashid.
WEST INDIES – Carlos Brathwaite (captain), Samuel Badree, Rayad Emrit, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Kesrick Williams.