West Indies, who last won the tournament in 1979, will look to live out "a dream" at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.
Straight off the bat, West Indies aren't one of the top contenders for the title. They're at No.8 on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI team rankings, and in their most recent one-day internationals, they were unable to defeat Bangladesh in three outings during the Ireland tri-nation series.
But with the likes of Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis and Andre Russell returning, a full-strength Caribbean outfit will be looking to defy expectations.
Windies have a proud history at the World Cup, winning the first two editions of the tournament and making the final of the third, and the current lot will hope to draw inspiration from those days of glory in this edition. A lot of the them already know how it feels to win a world event, having lifted the ICC World Twenty20 2016 in India, and to do the same in a fifty-over World Cup would be a exciting.
"It's a dream," said Windies opener Evin Lewis of the prospect of West Indies lifting the title. "Everyone will be glad to be playing in the World Cup. When we won the T20 World Cup in 2016, it was a great feeling, just looking forward to the fifty-over World Cup this year. Hopefully, we can get over the line."
It's about being yourself, being relaxed, being comfortable, backing your ability
All-rounder Carlos Brathwaite, whose heroics won West Indies the World T20 title in 2016, too echoed those sentiments. "Being here with the team, preparing for the World Cup means a lot to me," he said. "As I always say, putting on the West Indies shirt is always a great feeling and a privilege … to do it on the world stage, with the ten best teams fighting it out for the trophy, is something special."
One of the side's biggest strengths is power-hitting – a trait that seems tailor-made for English surfaces, which are expected to be batting beauties for the most part. Lewis felt he's primed to cash in and has set himself some lofty ambitions.
The #MenInMaroon had one last session before their first Warm Up Match in the #CWC19 v South Africa!— Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) May 25, 2019
📅 Sun. 26th May
🕕 5:30 am AST/ 4:30 am Jamaica#MenInMaroon #ItsOurGame pic.twitter.com/DGEBXnvgzS
"The World Cup is the biggest stage. It's about being yourself, being relaxed, being comfortable, backing your ability. When you get the big score, make sure you carry the team as deep as possible. Get big scores, get double-hundreds if you can get it.
"The conditions are pretty well, a bit chilly at times, but in terms of the wickets, pretty good. As I said, we're just looking to do our best in this tournament – go out and play hard cricket, go out and play the cricket we are known to play, and hope for the best."
West Indies will test their readiness for the tournament when they take on South Africa in the first of their two warm-up matches on Sunday, 26 May in Bristol.
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