‘Keep it real’
West Indies may be installed as pre-tournament favourites for the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 competition in Sri Lanka.
But there’s at least one person who’s not buying into that optimism.
West Indies’ head coach, Ottis Gibson, isn’t getting too caught up with the fact that several prominent cricketers have predicted the regional side would do exceptionally well at the tournament scheduled to begin in just under two weeks’ time.
Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and Australian cricketer Shane Watson have both said that they expected the West Indies to perform impressively.
However, Gibson said winning the competition would not be an easy task, and West Indies would have to play solid cricket if they were to walk away as champions.
“I don’t have much to say about favourites. This is why we are having a camp to prepare, and everybody has to be prepared when the time comes,” he told the media at the 3Ws Oval shortly after the West Indies completed a comfortable 44-run over the Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre (HPC) in a warm-up match yesterday.
“We know that we have got a very strong unit in this format and we are not really focusing on what other people think of us.
“We are getting together every day and training hard in the gym, working hard in the nets and making sure that we have all our bases covered.”
Gibson added, however, that he expected the West Indies to give a good account of themselves when the tournament gets underway on September 18.
Having been selected in Group B, which also includes Australia and Ireland, the regional side has a good chance of progressing to the next round, with the top two teams from each group advancing.
“If we play to our potential,” he said, “we believe that we have a great chance of doing very well, if not winning the competition.
“And whether other people see us as favourites or not doesn’t really come into our thinking.”
Speaking about yesterday’s game, Gibson said he was quite pleased with the overall performance of the team, but noted that there was still room for improvement.
He said that although the main strength of the team was depth of the middle and lower order batting, he was still expecting the top order batsmen to give a better account of themselves.
The West Indies began their preparation in fine style with captain Darren Sammy hitting an unbeaten half century to lead his team to victory.
Sammy’s knock of 56 not out and an unbeaten 45 from Marlon Samuels helped the side to post a competitive total of 164 for five from their 20 overs.
In their turn at the crease, the HPC never really threatened, losing wickets regularly before finishing on 120 for five.
Jermaine Blackwood topscored for the HPC with an entertaining knock of 67 which came from 62 balls.