KINGSTON – While dynamic Barbadian all-rounder Dwayne Smith is hoping to resuscitate his international career against Ireland, Twenty20 captain Darren Sammy says West Indies won’t be taking the unfancied visitors lightly in their three-match series bowling off at Sabina Park this week.
The two teams arrived in Jamaica on Sunday and are slated to face off in two Twenty20 Internationals and a one-off One-day International.
“As a West Indian team we always respect our opponents, no matter what. The Irish have not done well in the just-concluded NAGICO Super50, but no doubt we won’t be underestimating them as that could be a recipe for failure,” Sammy said.
The series, one of two before West Indies depart next month to defend their ICC World Twenty20 title in Bangladesh, is set to bowl off tomorrow with the Twenty20s. The second is set for Friday.
The two teams are due to meet in the One-Day International on Sunday.
“We will just have to go out there, keep our focus and try to execute as best as we can,” said Sammy.
Meanwhile, Smith, who has been recalled for the two T20 Internationals, is delighted to gain selection after being named the Most Valuable Player in the Nagico Super50. “I’m excited to link up with the West Indies team again. I worked myself very hard to get back into the team,” Smith said.
He said that he hoped his performances against the Irish would propel him into West Indies’ limited-overs squad for the home series against England, as the team prepare to defend their World T20 title
Smith finished as the top batsman in the Super50 with 232 runs at an average of 58, and credited his opening role with the Mumbai Indians in the Champions League T20 as a crucial element to his resurgence. He admitted the Indian Premier League (IPL) gave him stability in his role as an opener after floating around between the top three spots. “I’m enjoying the role as opener once more. It’s a position I get to play and score freely. I showed it in the IPL and in the Champions League.
“The selectors and coaches who backed me for this position, I’m repaying them. Also, for Mumbai, I got to bowl more than expected. I’m always willing and up to do the best job I can, as an all-rounder.”
With Chennai Super Kings snapping him up for the 2014 IPL, Smith said that he was excited to test new pastures, especially as he feels at 30 he needs to be maximising on his playing opportunities.
“Mumbai was quite an experience. The Champions League was too. But The MVP title was one of the biggest highlights ever. Now, it’s onto newer things and I’m looking forward.” Best foot forward
Ireland coach Phil Simmons, in the meanwhile, says while his team will enter the series as rank outsiders, they will be putting their best foot forward.
“The expectation when we go anywhere is to try and win and play good cricket,” said Simmons, a former West Indies cricketer.
“We are going to try and be on top of our game at all times and if they (West Indies) slip up then we’ll try and pull in.”