Bridgetown (Barbados), March 17 IANS | 6 months ago

West Indies' recent series win against England has provided head coach Ottis Gibson with the biggest indication yet, that his side can retain the Twenty20 World Cup.


While acknowledging the difficult nature of the task at the March 16 to April 6 tournament in Bangladesh, Gibson said the 2-1 win over England last week had shown that the West Indies team was well prepared to defend the title they won beating Sri Lanka in Colombo in October 2012.

"We know it's going to be a tough job to retain the World Cup, but the performance in the last three games (against England), puts us in a good position," Gibson said here Sunday, reports CMC.

"The batting is in a good shape. It's nice to see (Lendl) Simmons getting runs. In the first game it was Marlon Samuels and Chris (Gayle), it was Simmons, (Dwayne) Bravo and (Darren) Sammy in the middle game so everybody is getting an opportunity to find some form.

"The group is gelling well also so once we get over there and get ourselves settled, the players are well aware of the opportunity in front of them to do something really special."

West Indies won the first two matches of the T20 series convincingly, capturing the first by 27 runs and following up two days later with a five-wicket triumph at Kensington Oval here.

And even though the West Indies lost the final game by five runs, the contest came down to the final over, and could have gone either way.

Gibson said the series had been invaluable in helping his side to gauge their progress in all departments.

"This series has given us an opportunity to sit down as coaches and what we will do now is look at where we need to tweak the bowling, what we need to look at in the batting and where we need to improve as a fielding team," he pointed out.

West Indies won the T20 World Cup two years ago when they beat host Sri Lanka in the final. Boasting an array of international T20 stars like Gayle, Bravo and off-spinner Sunil Narine, the Windies will again start the tournament as one of the favourites.

Key to any successful campaign will be the wiles of Narine, who was outstanding against England, and who produced an astonishing spell in the 2012 final.

"Looking at Bangladesh and the conditions we're likely to face there, spin is likely to play a massive part and it's good for us that we've got two outstanding spinners (Narine and Samuel Badree)," Gibson noted.

"Marlon (Samuels) has bowled well (in the England series), Chris hasn't bowled but he's also capable of bowling and when you mention seam and you look at what (Krishmar) Santokie has done in the two games, he's been doing it all his career in the Caribbean so hopefully he will take a lot of confidence into the tournament."

West Indies will play in Group B alongside India, Pakistan and Australia, and another side which will be determined following the qualifying phase of the tournament.

(Posted on 17-03-2014)


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