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Simmons arrives as Windies refocus
The West Indies cricketers had a day to reflect on their embarrassing loss to Afghanistan in their final ICC World T20 preliminary round match, as they arrived in Mumbai yesterday evening from Nagpur.
Needing to get 124 runs for victory, the West Indies were restricted to 118/8 off their 20 overs - losing the game by six runs. However, they still topped the group standings and will play hosts India in a tough semi-final clash on Thursday in Mumbai.
The West Indies were dealt a further blow when number three batsman Andre Fletcher injured his hamstring and was forced to miss the remainder of the tournament. Fletcher was man of the match in the second game against Sri Lanka and made 10 not out against Afghanistan after retiring earlier on.
His replacement, Lendl Simmons who initially withdrew from the team citing back problems, has recovered sufficiently and will take his place on the squad. He was expected to arrive last night and is unlikely to take part in today’s practice session at the CCI ground.
His uncle, coach Phil Simmons, will hope that the aggressive right hander is able to train tomorrow the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, the match venue. Lendl will be familiar with the conditions at the Wankhede as he plays for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Despite Sunday’s loss, described by captain Darren Sammy as a ‘blip’, the mood in the camp remained upbeat yesterday as the team entered the entertainment capital of India. The players seemed in good spirits and are looking forward to two good performances in order to lift their second World T20 title.
The last time they played here, they had the full support of the fans, but on Thursday a sold out venue is expected to be cheering for the home team.
The Indians arrived in mid-afternoon and all rounder Yuvraj Singh was whisked away to have an MRI scan done on his ankle. The big left hander took off badly for a single against Australia in Sunday’s win and damaged his ankle. Medical staff is working feverishly on him with the hope that he is fully fit for Thursday.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is taking no chances and has called up Manish Pandey as cover for the all rounder. Even if Yuvraj is unfit to play, Pandey may miss out as Ajinkya Rahane who has carried drinks so far in the tournament may be the man replacing him.
The West Indies women’s team also arrived in the City from Mohali and they will continue their preparations today, as they look to defeat New Zealand in their semi-finals on Thursday at the same venue.
The women’s team clipped India by three runs on Sunday at Mohali and will face a tough New Zealand team—which has been dominant in women’s cricket.