COLOMBO—West Indies captain Darren Sammy says his players are ready to take on Australia in their opening game of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka today. The 15 players yesterday completed the final full day of training ahead of their group B contest with Australia at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo from 7.30 pm (10 am T&T time). Confidence is high in the West Indies camp as the players prepare to do battle with opponents who they defeated the last time the two teams met in the shortest form of the game. “We just had our last practice session and everybody is ready and the most important thing for us is the belief we have in the team that we could go all the way,” Sammy told reporters after the training session. “Tomorrow (today) is Australia. All our focus and attention will be geared toward this game. We are ready to take on the Australians tomorrow.”
The West Indies team showcases a star-studded cast of the world’s leading T20 players such as big-hitting Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard, mystery spinner Sunil Narine and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo. Sammy, himself an all-rounder, says with the talented line-up a final 11 will be hard to pick. “It might be a difficult eleven to pick because everybody looks good and eager to start the tournament and we have been here preparing for the last ten days,” Sammy said.
“We know whatever eleven we put out there will go out there and do a job for the Caribbean people.” The West Indian players have been training intensely for the 12-nation tournament which began on Tuesday and runs until October 7.
Warm-up matches, gym work outs, and a special focus on playing spin deliveries using a new bowling machine highlighted a nine-day training camp in Barbados. In Colombo, warm-up matches against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, and full-day practice sessions were part of a ten-day training stint which ended on Friday. “The training has been good. I think we have been monitoring the training and rest period very well. From the camp in Barbados my body is feeling much better than other tours,” said all-rounder Andre Russell. “The trainer has been very consistent in monitoring us with the gym sessions. I think everyone is ready to go and we are looking forward to a very important game tomorrow (today).”
Anticipation is high across the Caribbean for a side ranked among the favourites on the eve of their opening fixture. Even the incoming CEO of the WICB Michael Muirhead has said that West Indian cricket was poised for a major take-off in reference to improved results following years of poor performances. “We are not going to go on the field and say we are the favourite,” said Russell. “We are going to go there and get the job done so people back home in the Caribbean and everywhere supporting West Indies just relax and we are going to get the job done”. CMC