The boys have landed.
An upbeat West Indies team touched down in Colombo, Sri Lanka early this morning with captain Darren Sammy quickly hinting at what most knowledgeable observers of the shortest form of the game have already suggested – Sunil Narine’s bowling will be key to the Windies’ hopes. S
ammy told reporters his side would have a weapon in Narine for the World Twenty20 Tournament. He said the off-spinner, already highly rated despite a career still in its international infancy, had had an extraordinary introduction to international cricket, and that he expected Narine to play a crucial part in West Indies campaign on Sri Lanka’s dry, turning tracks.
“By now [Narine] is a very experienced T20 bowler,” Sammy said. “He has done well in this format and won the [Golden Player award] in the IPL. I can see him playing a very big role for us in the tournament because of the pitches here.”
Narine has taken seven wickets at 18.23 in Twenty20 Internationals, but perhaps his ODI average of 18.82 from 15 matches is a better reflection of his ability. Blessed with biting turn, a difficult knuckle-ball and a natural knack for guile, Narine has quickly become one of the world’s most promising talents, and fetched $700,000 at the IPL auction on that reputation. Sammy said he anticipated that Narine would continue to impress, having had a successful start.
“He has been a great performer for West Indies since coming into the team, so I think it will be more of the same in this tournament.”
Sammy played down the notion that his team arrived as tournament favourites however, and said that although the shortest format was the forte of several West Indies players, there are other contenders for the title.
“I have been asked a lot of times about how it feels to be the favourites. But I do not see us as favourites. There are a lot of good teams in this tournament. We just believe that we could come here and win. The calibre of the players we have means that once we go out there and play we can go all the way in this tournament.
“Anyone can have a chance of winning in T20 cricket because the games are shorter and that brings the teams closer together. I don’t think you can say that we are favourites,” he said.
West Indies swept the two-game Twenty20 series against New Zealand in June as well as comfortably winning the ODI leg of that tour 4-1. Sammy said his side’s preparation, which included a nine-day camp