West Indies’ explosive batsman Chris Gayle trains ahead of the three-match Twenty20 series © Getty Images
Bridgetown (Barbados): Mar 9, 2014
West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson is confident his side can come away with a valuable series against England in the build-up to the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh later this month.
The West Indies face England in the first Twenty20 International of their three-match series on Sunday, reports CMC.
The hosts conceded the preceding three-match one-day series in Antigua by a 2-1 margin, but as World champions in the game’s shortest format believe they have a good shot at trouncing the English.
“I think we’ve got a great chance. We’re using these games as preparation for the World Cup so you may see different players over the course of the three games. We may look at a few players building up towards Bangladesh and retaining our title,” Gibson said here Saturday.
“We’ve got very good experienced players in Chris [Gayle], [Dwayne] Bravo, [Darren] Sammy, [all] IPL superstars [and] Sunil Narine, the best T20 bowler in the world,” Gibson said.
“We’ve got the best T20 bowler and best T20 batsman in the world, so if both guys perform as they should and the other guys play around them (we will do well).”
Gayle will return to a top order that offered precious little in the ODIs, and Gibson is hoping the infusion of new players for the T20 series also leads to a revival in the batting.
The left-handed Gayle will be joined by the attacking right-handed pair of Andre Fletcher and Johnson Charles, neither of whom played in the ODIs.
“It’s very clear we need a little more contribution from the top four and having Chris back gives us a lot of strength at the top and a lot of experience as well,” the head coach said.
“It’s a new squad, there are five or six new players, so we’re looking forward to the challenge and we believe we can win this series here.”
Captain Darren Sammy said his side was hoping for a positive start to the series, and with a sell-out crowd expected, stressed they would be looking to give spectators their money’s worth.
He also backed the Kensington Oval pitch to provide a good surface for big scores.
“The groundsmen, they are good working men and they always prepare good cricket wickets so we expect it to be a run-fest. I was told it is a sold-out crowd so hopefully we can entertain the people by playing some good quality cricket and we’ll come out victorious,” he said.
Sammy also noted that West Indies needed to make the adjustment from the ODI series, and to the new conditions at the Oval.
“It is…a different atmosphere, [a] smaller ground than Antigua with a strong breeze as well. We normally have great matches here,” he said.
“England and West Indies always have these good battles and we’re looking forward to that Sunday. Both teams are trying to finalise their combinations in their squad going into the World Cup so it provides both teams with that opportunity to do so.”
“In T20s, spinners play a very important role in the game. Where ever it’s being played, the spinners have chipped in. We have quality spinners in our attack. We have [Samuel] Badree whose economy [rate] in T20s is [5.06] and you know we also have the number one bowler in T20s in Narine, who the Englishmen did not pick too well.
“We’re quite happy with the combination and it’s even tougher trying to get XI on the park. It’s a good headache to have so hopefully we can come up with the right combination that can give us the victory tomorrow and the series.”
West Indies: Darren Sammy (c), Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Krishmar Santokie, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.
England: Stuart Broad (c), Ian Bell, Moeen Ali, Tim Bresnan, Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Harry Gurney, Chris Jordan, Ben Stokes, Stephen Parry, James Tredwell, Luke Wright.