Yes, WI can!
Captain Darren Sammy believes the West Indies are motivated and well prepared to win the ICC World Twenty20 Tournament which commences in Sri Lanka on September 18.
Speaking at the Grantley Adams International Airport yesterday afternoon just prior to the departure of the regional cricket team for London en route to Sri Lanka, an upbeat Sammy indicated that self-belief, experience and all-round ability will be the major tenets on which his side will base the quest to lift a global title for the first time since capturing the 2004 Champions Trophy in England.
“We have a strong belief in the team and know the personnel we have in the dressing room and the ability of each player,” the captain said.
“Once we go out there and believe that we can do well we’re going to do just that, but we’ve got to take it one game at a time. Hopefully, all the experience we have in Twenty20 in our dressing room will play a big part for us.”
The captain said the camp held over the past week at the Sagicor High Performance Centre at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus had been significant in making the unit battle-ready.
“I think the camp went well, we got what we wanted from it. The guys look fit and match-ready and now we just have to take that same form to Sri Lanka and start the journey of winning the World Cup.”
Sammy, who became the first St Lucian to lead the West Indies when he was first appointed in October, 2010, once again downplayed the touting of the team as “favourites”.
Several knowledgeable pundits believe the West Indies’ Indian Premier League (IPL) stars, such as world-renowned opening batsman Chris Gayle, Tournament MVP of this year’s Indian Premier League Sunil Narine and explosive all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, make the team formidable T20 opponents.
“The tag [of] favourites doesn’t guarantee a spot in the final,” was all Sammy was prepared to say when it was suggested that he was leading one of the strongest teams in the tournament.
An appreciation of what it would mean to the people of the Caribbean should the team capture the trophy is another motivating factor that drives the desire of the players to do their best.
“I think it would mean everything to the people of the Caribbean,” Sammy said.
“The last time we won a world tournament was in 2004 and being a very young member of that squad and being the fortunate one coming out of the plane with the trophy, I saw the hundreds of people who came out to support the team.
“It would mean a whole lot to Caribbean people and that’s what we will be taking to Sri Lanka. One team, one people, one goal. That’s the message we’re taking with us.”
The skipper declined to single out any particular opponent as more of a threat than any other.
He also did not expect the conditions in Sri Lanka to be a major disadvantage for the team.