West Indies captain Darren Sammy has urged his players to retain the hunger that brought World Twenty20 success as the team set out on a challenging tour of Bangladesh.
“We just have to stay hungry. We can’t keep thinking that, yes, because we won the T20 World Cup that we’ve turned the corner,” Sammy said on the eve of the team’s departure for a five-week tour that includes two Tests, five One-Day Internationals and one Twenty20 international.
“We still have to put in the hard work, all the stuff coach (Ottis) Gibson has been trying to implement ever since he came on board. We have to keep working hard.
“Bangladesh in Bangladesh is always a difficult place for us or for any team. We are expected to beat them so we just have to keep the momentum and do the things we’ve been doing for the last six months,” the St Lucian added.
The Caribbean side toured Bangladesh exactly a year ago – the Future Tours Programme’s new cycle presents back-to-back visits there – and Sammy is keen to improve on that performance.
The West Indies lost the Twenty20 international on that occasion before winning the three-match ODI series 2-1 and the two-Test rubber 1-0.
This team is boosted by veteran opener Chris Gayle, whose banishment was ongoing a year ago, and spin wizard, Sunil Narine, now keen to add Test gloss to his limited-overs successes.
But Sammy, who turns 29 next month, recognizes the danger in taking the hosts lightly, despite the fact that Bangladesh prop up the Test table without a single point.
“We just have to guard against being complacent. Bangladesh is a team we’ve always respected. We just have to go out there and continue what we started here against New Zealand, in terms of winning matches and series.”
Gibson is keen to continue the improvement in form that has seen competitive performances at home and away against higher-ranked Australia and England earlier in the year followed by domination of New Zealand at home in August and the historic World Twenty20 title a month ago.
“We’ve had a pretty solid 2012 so far. We just want to finish off the year on a winning note. The aim is to keep trying to find ways to move up the table. There are not a lot of points at stake in Bangladesh for us because they are below us. But our aim is to try to move ourselves up the rankings and try and break into the top five in the next 12 months,” Gibson said.
The West Indies currently sit seventh in the Test table, above New Zealand, the recently-returned Zimbabwe, and Bangladesh.
Gibson was satisfied with the just-concluded pre-tour camp in Barbados.
“It was just getting the guys back into hitting red balls, getting the mindset right; obviously, from the shorter format where you need to score, to the longer format where you need to be a little bit more patient,” the 43-year-old coach said.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul missed the camp to attend to personal matters while other key batsmen Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels were late arrivals and missed the preparatory match.
Darren Sammy (captain), Denesh Ramdin (vice-captain), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Fidel Edwards, Kirk Edwards, Assad Fudadin, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Veerasammy Permaul, Kieran Powell, Ravi Rampaul, Marlon Samuels.
Management: Ottis Gibson (head coach), Toby Radford (assistant coach), Richie Richardson (team manager), C.J. Clark (physiotherapist), Hector Martinez (strength and conditioning coach), Richard Berridge (performance analyst), Virgil Browne (massage therapist), Adriel Richard (media manager), Robert Haynes (selector on tour).