Bridgetown (Barbados), March 11 IANS | 5 months ago

West Indies captain Darren Sammy says that it will be a challenging task to defend their World Twenty20 title but they are prepared to work hard for it later this month.


Sammy, who was at the helm when the West Indies beat hosts Sri Lanka in the final two years ago, believes the tournament in Bangladesh from March 16 to April 6 represents a new start for everyone involved.

"It is a great feeling to be World Champions but that's all gone. When we get to Bangladesh it's a fresh start and everyone's got do again what they did in Sri Lanka. Which is to play as a team, play for the people and the goal was to win the title. This time around, it is to defend the title and the lads are quite confident. They've been working hard in order for us to retain that title," said Sammy.

"We will miss the services of Kieron Pollard who is one of our most experienced T20 players. Guys have gained more exposure all over the world and we still have the core in the team. We know once we go out there and perform to our full potential, we will be T20 champions."

In 2012, the West Indies rode their luck in the group stage. They lost their opener to Australia via the Duckworth/Lewis Method while their final match against Ireland finished in a no-result. It allowed them to squeak through to the Super Eight by virtue of a superior net run-rate.

Once there, they beat England, lost to Sri Lanka before again needing a degree of luck to edge New Zealand out in a thrilling super over to reach the semi-finals.

Chris Gayle came good in the semis win over Australia and Marlon Samuels' brilliance sealed the final. Sammy believes that with these type of players, the West Indies would be challenging again.

"We have 12 or so West Indians playing in the IPL which to me is good exposure for us. The Pollards, Gayles, Bravos, Narines are all marquee players in IPL and to have all these guys in one team, it sounds really good for me as captain," said the skipper.

"Yes, we won the title but it is going to be a challenging task to go out there and defend it. But I believe we have the quality in the dressing room to do that."

The West Indies will do battle in Group II alongside India, Australia, Pakistan and a yet-to-be determined qualifier.

(Posted on 11-03-2014)