West Indies ICC World Twenty20 2016 Tournament Preview & Guide
The absence of some of their star players notwithstanding, West Indies could well be a force to reckon with
11 March 2016 15:34
Since that loss to Sri Lanka in Mirpur, though, West Indies has played only eight T20 Internationals, winning four and losing three. The last of them was in November 2015, and it will be interesting to see how the squad copes with the lack of match practice when compared to some of its opponents.
History: At the inaugural World T20 in 2007, West Indies didn’t make it out of the first phase, as it was upset by Bangladesh. It went as far as the semi-final in England in 2009, but disappointingly failed to make the last four on home turf in 2010. Two years later, West Indies rebounded from a poor start to the tournament to peak when it really mattered, and there was a spirited title defence in Bangladesh two years ago, when only Sri Lanka’s tryst with destiny stopped it.
Captain: Darren Sammy
Coach: Phil Simmons
Preview: West Indies’ preparation has been dealt a big blow by the loss to injury of Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons. Darren Bravo and Sunil Narine also opted out, depriving the side of some key players with great experience of Indian conditions.
But several of the heroes of 2012 remain in the ranks, and West Indies players have acquitted themselves so well in various T20 leagues around the world that few would dare write the team off.
Recent Form: Lost to Sri Lanka by 30 runs, and then beat them by 23 runs in a two-match series – those are the only T20Is West Indies has played in the last 12 months.
Star Player: Andre Russell
His T20I numbers may be modest – 219 runs at 11.52 and 11 wickets at 48.9 from 35 games – but Russell, now nearly 28, has been a bonafide star for several T20 franchises around the globe. This year alone, he has helped inspire Sydney Thunder to the Big Bash League title, and Islamabad United to the top rung of the inaugural Pakistan Super League.
A canny seam bowler with clever changes of pace, Russell can also belt the ball a fair distance. This could be the tournament in which he shows off his qualities on the big stage.
One to Watch: Carlos Brathwaite
Having made his T20I debut in October 2011, at the age of 23, he had to wait four more years for his next cap. But a spirited showing on the Test tour of Australia at the turn of the year pushed him into contention. He made valuable runs in the lower order, and his bowling ability means that West Indies has yet another all-round option in a format where that can be priceless.
#That6Hitter: Chris Gayle
No one does big hitting quite like Gayle. Since he first explored the format in 2005, Gayle has represented more than a dozen teams, scoring an incredible 8,726 runs.
No one else has crossed 7,000, and his tally of 16 hundreds is also likely to be unmatched for some time – Brendon McCullum, in second place with seven, has just retired from the international game.
But it’s Gayle’s ability to clear the rope almost on demand that makes him such a jaw-dropping attraction round the world. No one comes close to his 626 sixes in this format, and on Indian pitches where he has so often turned it on for Royal Challengers Bangalore, bowlers will be more than wary.
- At halfway in the 2012 final, West Indies was 32 for 2. It would go on to make 137 and win at a canter.
- Of those with at least 15 wickets, Samuel Badree (5.61) and the absent Narine (5.17) have been the most economical bowlers in World T20 history.
- Only the now retired Mahela Jayawardena (1,016) has scored more runs than Gayle (807) in the competition.
Key Match: Sri Lanka
West Indies has won all three of their World Twenty20 games against England, and come up short on both occasions against South Africa. But it’s Sri Lanka that has often been the immovable obstacle in their path.
West Indies has lost five times to Sri Lanka at the World T20. Fortunately for the team, its sole success came in the 2012 final. Sri Lanka’s form has dipped markedly since it won the title in 2014, but West Indies can expect a spin-heavy examination when the two teams meet in Bangalore.
What people are saying about them:
"It's a case of making sure that we get back to a standard where people are afraid of us in the field, and we have the players that can put that fear into other people in the field." – Phil Simmons, former West Indies player and current coach
"Look at the team that we have - half of the team are in demand across the world for different Twenty20 leagues. So you may find one guy here, maybe two in this league and two in another league, but we have all at once so we have a great chance of winning this Twenty20 tournament - just look at our squad.” – Curtly Ambrose, West Indies’ bowling coach
“I hope they can pick the best possible team because if they do, every other nation will be worried.” – Brian Lara, former West Indies’ batting great
Pommie Mbangwa Prediction – Super 10
Whilst they have the talent, they just seem to be in disarray with many issues off the field that could take away their focus. Missing players such as Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine is not going to help things either.
Squad: Darren Sammy (capt), Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Marlon Samuels, Andre Fletcher, Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Samuel Badree.
Wednesday March 16: v England, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Sunday March 20: v Sri Lanka, M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
Friday March 25: v South Africa, VCA Stadium, Nagpur
Sunday March 27: v Group B Qualifier, VCA Stadium, Nagpur