Teamwork’s key for WI
By Barry Wilkinson in Sri Lanka | Sat, September 22, 2012 - 12:04 AM
COLOMBO – Forget all the talk about being favourites and having power-hitters. The West Indies will not beat Australia today if it’s nota total team effort.
So said captain Darren Sammy on the eve of their first and crucial match in the ICC World Twenty20 which is set to bowl off at the Premadassa Stadium tonight (10 a.m. Barbados time).
Australia won their first match against Ireland and a win today would see them motor through to the Super 8s, but the West Indies skipper said he was not depending on any one player to pull off a victory.
He warned his men against trying to smash every ball for six in an effort to mount, or chase, big totals.
“I don’t see it like that because you see guys like (Kumar) Sangakkara and (Mahela) Jayawardene score at strike rates of 130-plus in the game and they are not power-hitters. So it’s about executing properly.
“It’s good to have guys who can clear the boundary with ease, but at the end of the day, you have to do it on the pitch.”
The West Indies and Australia had some keenly contested T20 matches this year in the Digicel Series which ended 1-1.
But Sammy said that was all in the past as he recognized that Australia would have some measure of confidence after their victory on Wednesday night at the same ground.
“We cannot ever count out Australia,” he said. “They are always hungry for success.
“We had a good series in the Caribbean against them earlier this year, but this is new turf and I think it will be an exciting match tomorrow (today) but, like I said, we have full respect for the Australian team.”
Australia, though, have some minor concerns in the lead-up to the match.
Veteran spinner Brad Hogg missed practice on Thursday due to a headache and flu-like symptoms, while Mitchell Starc sat out with gastroenteritis.
Xavier Doherty has rejoined the squad, having made a quick dash home for the birth of his child, while Clint McKay and Ben Hilfenhaus are the backup fast men in the squad.
The man to look out for is the dangerous all-rounder Shane Watson, who starred with bat and ball against Ireland.
The Windies team is 100 per cent fit and management acknowledged that the hardest part will be picking a final XI in a tournament where an early defeat can put a team under pressure.
“Well, to us every game in the tournament is an important game. We just had our last practice session and everybody is ready,” Sammy said.
“The most important thing is that everybody in the team has the belief that we can go all the way. All our attention and focus is geared towards this game.”
Not since the 1983 World Cup has the West Indies come into a global competition as the favourites. The squad includes Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Dwayne Bravo, players with great success in Indian Premier League cricket.
Nevertheless, on a pitch that has been fair to both batsmen and bowlers, big names might not count for much if everyone does not chip in, Sammy noted.
“The good thing is that the fans are rallying behind us,” the captain added. “We feel their love and we believe we can do well. The management and staff believe that we will do well.
“But being favourites doesn’t guarantee you will win; you have to go out there and win every match.”
- Editor's Choice