NORTH SOUND, Antigua — Darren Sammy has promised his West Indies team will play like true world champions and entertain their home fans when they face Zimbabwe in the two-match T20 International Series this weekend. The world T20-winning captain was upbeat as he talked about his side’s chances of beating the visitors, in what promises to be an action-packed doubleheader at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.
First ball on both days is 2 pm (1 pm Jamaica Time).
“We are world champions and every time we go out to play we have to play like world champions. We have to let other teams know we mean business. This is a format we have done well in and we will look to always dominate,” Sammy said.
“We come here to play our brand of cricket – the brand which won us the World Cup for the people of the Caribbean. This is the first T20 International in the Caribbean since we won the World Cup and this is a great opportunity for the fans to come out and watch their world champions play. We anticipate a good turn-out and we will look to win for our loyal supporters.”
The captain was speaking on Friday as he and team-mates completed their preparations for the two matches.
The West Indies have been on a good run in this format. After winning the ICC World T20 trophy last October they beat Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla in Dhaka in December in and also whipped Australia at the Gabba in Brisbane last month.
They dominated the recent three-match One-Day Series against Zimbabwe at the Grenada National Stadium – by 156 runs in the first match; by seven wickets in the second match and by five wickets in the third match.
Sammy noted: “I know we have not taken Zimbabwe lightly. We will come out and play good, competitive cricket. Looking back at the One-Dayers, three disciplines fired. We have a good combination and we will look to improve our performances.”
West Indies selectors have called up fast bowler Shannon Gabriel for the first time in T20 cricket and recalled allrounder Christopher Barwnell. Both were outstanding performers in last month’s Caribbean T20. The strongly-built Gabriel bowled with pace to win the Player-of-the-Match award in the Grand Final. Barnwell, a powerful batting allrounder, played a superb match-winning knock against Jamaica in the Play-off. Sammy welcomed the inclusion of both and said he is quite impressed with their preparations for the series.
“They have been rewarded for a very good Caribbean T20 tournament. They both played really well for their teams and took them to the finals. They have both played at the international level before so this won’t be altogether new for them. We will try to give everybody an opportunity. I expect to see them both play, if not in both games, at least in one game,” Sammy said.
“We will look to provide opportunities and exposure to guys who have done well as we continue to look toward the T20 World Cup in 2014. We will look to win that tournament and defend our title. The T20 World Cup in 2012 was a perfect example of the players the selectors tried in the build-up and we saw how well that turned out for us.”