MUMBAI – Darren Sammy today reminded those giving West Indies no hope in tomorrow’s ICC Twenty20 World Cup semifinal clash against giant Asian hosts India, that David slew Goliath.
“The guys who predict the results, I think they say it’s 80-20 to India, so it feels like a David and Goliath. But people tend to forget that David won the fight,” Sammy said today, when asked about his side’s chances against the powerful Indians carrying the expectations of more than a billion people.
But should the West Indies upstage India tomorrow, the result would not be an entirely unexpected one. It might not be one of popular opinion, but definitely one that many would have already taken into account, if not looked forward to.
West Indies enter the game knowing that the veterans in the squad have their perfect chance for a last hurrah. Sammy echoed those sentiments today while speaking at the pre-match press conference in Mumbai.
At least nine players in the West Indies line-up are age over 30, with three among those at least 35, and with the next ICC World T20 four years from now, the 2016 edition presents them the ideal chance to claim the big prize.
“We have a number of guys in their thirties,” said Sammy who is himself 32.
“Yeah, I think so,” he said when asked if this was like a last hurrah for those players. “The next T20 World Cup is in four years. The ‘World Universe Boss’ (Gayle) will be 40. I’ll be 36. So yes, we really put our all into this tournament and the guys in the dressing room are aware of what’s at stake.
“It’s six steps to the cup. We’ve taken four, we had a little pothole in the road but we’ll brush ourselves off and the step tomorrow is against India and we’re looking forward to it. I think this year could be the year for the West Indies.”
Sammy added that his team have got closer together after their problems with the board over payment issues, and also that they had proved their critics wrong by doing well thus far.
“There were a lot of issues before the tournament, a lack of respect for our T20 team. A lot has been said about this team (but) that just brought us closer together,” said Sammy. “You can see in the way we’ve played we think it’s us against the world … and that’s how we’ve gone out and played. Tomorrow is no bigger day to express that because I don’t think we’ll have one Indian supporter. It’s going to be a massive game and it’s a challenge we are ready for.”
Playing at one of India’s historic grounds and up against a roaring crowd, West Indies will have a tough task on their hands at Wankede, the home of India’s 2011 World Cup victory. Sammy, however, said his team would look to enjoy the atmosphere and not get intimidated by it.
“It’s going to be a hell of a game. It’s going to be 15 West Indian players versus 75,000 and how many billions here in India. It’s a challenge we’re ready to face.”
West Indies will be forced into one change with the in-form Andre Fletcher’s injured hamstring ruling him out of the match. He is likely to be replaced by Lendl Simmons who has returned to the squad after initially missing the tournament with a back injury. Despite his patchy form opener Johnson Charles is likely to maintain his play after fellow opener Evin Lewis copped a duck on debut against Afghanistan and looked overwhelmed by the occasion. India will also be without the services of Yuvraj Singh because of injury.