KOLKATA – West Indies captain Darren Sammy believes it will be difficult to replace the likes of Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard who are not going to be part of the side in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup cricket tournament.
Spinner Narine has been reported for a suspect bowling action and has not been able to correct it before the tournament, while all-rounder Pollard has opted out with an injury.
“I think we have a very good side, but obviously it is very difficult to replace Narine and Pollard, who were key members of the squad when we won the World Cup in Sri Lanka. We have Carlos Braithwaite who will replace Pollard and (Ashley) Nurse replacing Narine,” Sammy told the Indian media today.
“We have had a week in Dubai where we trained. Most of the guys were in Dubai where they were playing in the PSL (Pakistan Super League) in conditions similar to India, so we feel we have given ourselves the best chance to prepare and we believe we can win the World Cup.”
Most of the West Indies team members have been playing in T20 leagues around the world but they have not had much cricket together. The last time they played a T20 international was in November 2015 against Sri Lanka.
Asked if that could be a problem, Sammy said: “Ideally we want to be playing international cricket together but when I look in the dressing room I see (Chris) Gayle, (Dwayne) Bravo, (Andre) Russell, (Samuel) Badree and Marlon Samuels, they are experienced players. So as a captain my job becomes easy, together we are confident as a team. Also we have been together for a while, so we won’t have problems gelling together.”
The 32-year-old said that the likes of Narine missing out would provide another player the opportunity to fill in his shoes and do well.
“As I said it is difficult to replace somebody like Narine, but it creates an opportunity for someone else to come forward and do well for West Indies,” he said.
The skipper who had won the 2012 edition of the world event said the team was motivated from the recent success of the West Indies U-19 side that won World Cup in Bangladesh last month.
“It is a massive motivation for us seeing the youngsters in the U-19 World Cup. Any team that wins, it serves as an inspiration for us, a massive plus for us. We want to emulate what they did and hold the trophy aloft on April 3,” he said.
Sammy did not want to dwell on the problems between players and the West Indies Cricket Board, saying they were in India to just look forward and focus on cricket.
“We are here to win, focus solely on the things we can and just play cricket here. This year is very important for us as. Many guys won’t be a part of the event in 2020.”
Sammy added playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has helped them get accustomed to the conditions in the country.
“The conditions are no stranger to us. Key thing would be to adjust quickly to the conditions. We are in a good condition now as we have 15 potential match winners in our team. We will pick the best team depending on the opposition and the conditions,” he said.
Speaking about the veteran hard-hitting batsman Chris Gayle, Sammy said: “He is a massive figure for us, most destructive batsman in world cricket. We also have other seasoned players, so we will be a force to reckon with.”
The West Indies start their campaign against England at the Wankhede on March 16.