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WI ready for the World

Philip Hackett

WI ready for the World

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Same focus, but a new mission. And an even higher level of confidence.
That’s how West Indies captain Darren Sammy summed up his team as they head off to Bangladesh to defend their World T20 title.
Speaking to the SATURDAY SUN at the Accra Hotel hours before the team’s departure yesterday, Sammy gave the assurance of a high level of readiness for the task before them.
The focus remains the same, the mantra is still ‘one team, one goal, one people’, but the mission is not to win, the mission is to defend that title cause we won it last time,” Sammy said as he soaked up the lovely beach setting that included numerous visitors many of whom had come just for the three-match T20 series between England and the West Indies, which the home side won 2-1.
Though as champions the West Indies will be the one many sides will target, this reality does not create undue problems for Sammy’s side.
“There is always pressure and especially now being world champion. What I can say is that we have grown as a team. Guys have gotten more exposure in T20 cricket. We are more experienced and the belief in the team is quite high.
“It’s a little bit more vocal than it was in 2012. We knew we had a chance
of winning but we believed it silently in the dressing room and among ourselves. Now we have shown that we can win and we know once we can go out and execute, the guys are more experienced, much more confident and actually believe. We are not afraid to say that we can go out and defend the title,” Sammy said.
But even with the responsibility of captaincy Sammy feels no additional pressure as the senior players within the team have accepted various roles that have impacted in a positive way on the proper functioning of the side.
“In all aspects of the game, batting, bowling or fielding we have leaders,” Sammy explained.
“Chris (Gayle) is the batting leader. In one-day cricket I am the fielding leader whilst Bravo (Dwayne) is the captain, and in T20 Ramdin (Denesh) takes charge and is the fielding leader while Rampaul (Ravi) has always been designated as our bowling leader.
“Even when I am on the field, if you notice when it calls for me to be on the boundary if Bravo is bowling he now takes charge. So everybody understands the rule and we are very clear as to how we go about playing especially in this format (limited overs).
“It’s good because it gives players a clear idea of what is to be done and once you are clear in your head the chances of you executing and delivering is much greater,” added Sammy.
Sammy was reminded of the 2011 ODI World Cup match against England when, batting at No. 3, he scored 41 off 29 balls. Responding to the concern that he may not now be maximising his potential with the bat when coming relatively low in the order, Sammy acknowledged that flexibility in the line-up would sometimes be necessary.
“We lost three wickets (Thursday) I think in the first six (overs) chasing almost 170 and we brought it down to the last ball where we needed a boundary so there is always more time than we think.
“Now my role is to come in and win games at the back end for West Indies or try to finish games, whether it be one-day cricket or T20 and I am enjoying do that.
“Probably if Gayle and Smith bat 15 overs then I will definitely come in at No. 3, but it’s all a learning process.  Back then I was fresh as a captain just leading the team in my first major tournament and playing against England, I could recall we wanted to up the run rate and keep the momentum that Gayle started and probably I was not batting as well as I am doing now,” said Sammy reflecting on the 2011 World Cup.
“It has been a learning experience, some tough times, but all in all I have enjoyed it and I just want us to continue growing as a team and being consistent,” Sammy said.