Bridgetown (Barbados), March 15 IANS | 6 months ago

Captain Darren Sammy believes that the West Indies team that will defend the World Twenty20 cricket title in Bangladesh later this month is much better equipped than the one which lifted the trophy two years ago in Sri Lanka.


Speaking here Friday hours before the squad's departure, Sammy said his charges were now more experienced, confident and better able to deal with the pressure of international tournaments, reports CMC.

"There is always pressure, and especially now being World champions. [But] we've grown as a team, guys have gotten more exposure in Twenty20 cricket, we're more experienced, and the belief in the team is quite high and it is a little more vocal than it was in 2012," Sammy said.

"We knew we had a chance of winning but we believed it silently in the dressing room and amongst ourselves. Now we've shown that we can win and we know once we go out and execute (we can win). The guys are much more experienced, much more confident and we actually believe, and we are not afraid to say that we can go out and defend the title," he said.

West Indies will start as one of the favourites in the March 16 to April 6 tournament. They are in a tough Group B that includes India, Australia, Pakistan and a yet-to-be determined qualifier.

In the last T20 World Cup, West Indies stumbled through the early phases of the competition before finding form in the semi-finals but Sammy believes the team will start the tournament this time with much-needed momentum.

"I think we're in pretty good shape. The best form of preparation is match preparation and in the T20 series against England we showed that we are ready," he asserted.

"Bangladesh will be different conditions but we have the armoury to adjust. We have two world class spinners (Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine), we've got two fast bowlers in (Ravi) Rampaul and (Sheldon) Cottrell and we've got (Krishmar) Santokie who just proved he's world class as well. When you look at our batting, we've got Chris (Gayle) and (Dwayne) Smith at the top, Marlon (Samuels) and (Lendl) Simmons in the middle and (Dwayne) Bravo, myself and (Andre) Russell to finish the game."

Sammy added that the absence of all-rounder Kieron Pollard due to an injury would be a set-back.

"But I think the team is well prepared, well balanced and once we go out to Bangladesh and play to our full potential, we stand a good chance of defending the title," he said.

West Indies were impressive in their series triumph over England in recent days, winning the first two matches convincingly before narrowly losing the third.
In all three games, West Indies displayed impressive firepower in their batting and sharpness in their bowling attack, sending a stern warning to their rivals ahead of the tournament.

Sammy said the key to success, however, was keeping to the basics and being consistent.

"I just want us to continue improving as a team and being consistent. I heard a speech from Sir Garry (Sobers) last night and he spoke about being consistent and doing consistently well, and that's what brings the success of a team when you go out and play," the all-rounder explained.

"For you to win games you have to be doing things consistently well. The basics of the game never change. For us as a team we just have to do that and try when we go out and play, remember the fans and be consistently good. Once we do that with the calibre players that we have, we stand a good chance of being successful," he said.

(Posted on 15-03-2014)

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