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“It’s us against the world” – Sammy sounds semifinal warning

West Indies captain says off-field events brought the team closer together, identifies dot-ball percentage as area of improvement

31 March 2016 11:55

Since its arrival in India for the ICC World Twenty20 2016, West Indies has played a typically flamboyant brand of cricket, and now stand within two wins of replicating their 2012 triumph. Darren Sammy, the skipper, spoke of how the team had come together at the start of the tournament and looked ahead to Thursday’s (March 31) semifinal against India.

“A lot has been said about this team and we as a group, it has just brought us closer together. I said it before, we have a number of guys in their 30s and we came here not playing a T20 (International) in the calendar year, where we saw a lot against us. That really brought the team closer together. You've seen the way we've played. We think it's us against the world. That 15 players and the support staff, it’s just us, only our circle 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 have one Indian supporter! It's going to be a massive game and it's a challenge that we are ready for. That is why we play the sport; it's going to be an exciting and we're really looking forward to it.”

Holding forth on what has contributed to the team’s consistency, Sammy remarked, “I think the key word was responsibility. It is one of the main words we use in the dressing room. Someone taking the responsibility to bring the team home, not leaving it for anyone in the dressing room. The three games we won, the first game Chris batted throughout the innings, the second game it was (Andre) Fletcher, the third one Marlon Samuels took us really close. We didn’t have that against Afghanistan chasing a low total. It’s about each person taking ownership of the job that is required out there, not leaving it for anybody else.”



There was expected talk about Virat Kohli, and whether the West Indians had given him plenty of thought in their planning. “No not really, have you ever heard of Chris Gayle?” Sammy countered, at once joking and serious. “There's no taking away from Virat, he's a very good player. But like I've said in my press conferences, we tend to focus on what we could do in our dressing room. Like we've shown throughout the tournament, once we execute our plans right, we've won the games. When we've not, we've lost. It's going to be a hell of a game, it's going to be 15 West Indies players versus 78,000 and how many millions here in India, and yes it's a challenge we're ready to face. We all know that India is always difficult at home, but the main focus in our dressing room is doing what we do best.”

For those backing India to come through unscathed, Sammy had a word of caution, if not warning. “The guys who predict the result and stuff, they say it's 80-20 to India, so it feels like David and Goliath, but people tend to forget David won the fight, so it's something similar to that,” he offered. “We enjoy playing against India, a number of our players play here, we have a lot of respect and camaraderie in the group. Both teams are really good. And what better place to play than right here in Mumbai, on one of the best wickets in India. I really want an exciting cricket match where cricket is the winner, slash West Indies!”



Sammy went beyond the obvious when he was asked about the areas that needed improvement. “We haven’t played the perfect game yet,” he began, ominous-sounding. “We are stressing on rotation of strike and stuff. We are aware, it is clear that we are a big boundary-hitting team. We look at the dot-ball percentage, probably it is 40-50% for us, we could improve on that. So far, we have bowled really well in the tournament and on a few occasions, one batsman has taken responsibility. It is about continuing that way. It is going to be a 240-ball event. Like we say, it all about momentum. We are very aware India are a very good team at seizing momentum. Once we don’t let them win too many events in that 240 and seizing the momentum at that period of the match, we back ourselves to do that.”

In Samuel Badree, West Indies have the No. 1 T20I bowler in the world, the legspinner at once parsimonious and penetrative. “He is just difficult to hit,” said Sammy. “With him in the team, it is always a plus. He controls that Power Play so well. To have an economy of under 6 or just over 6 and bowling at least two or three overs in the Power Play, to do that over a period of time shows how consistent he is. Hopefully tomorrow, the No. 1 bowler bowls a champion spell.”