West Indies skipper Dwayne Bravo, MS Dhoni of India and Angelo Mathews of Sri Lanka all pledged to play in the true spirit of the game and promised their respective teams would bring their “A” game in the June 28 to July 11 tournament at Sabina Park and Queen’s Park Oval.
The three were speaking at the official launch of the trophy on Thursday afternoon, which was attended by representatives of the sponsors as well as officials of the West Indies Cricket Board and the Jamaica Cricket Association.
The tournament – which will feature seven matches in 13 days – bowls off on Friday when West Indies clash with Sri Lanka at Sabina Park at 9:30 am (10:30 am Eastern Caribbean Time).
“It is going to be a fantastic series. We are all excited to get going,” said Bravo. “Going head-to-head with India and Sri Lanka, we know it will be a great series. We know we can expect the Carnival-atmosphere and that is one of the things the gets us fired up when we play at home in the Caribbean.”
The Windies Number 47 added: “I am looking forward to leading my team to great things and to make the people of the Caribbean proud. Playing at home is always good where we have the support of our hands.
“We have been on the road for a while so it will be good to come back and get the support of our fans here in Jamaica where we have a good record. Playing at home is always good, as long as we prepare well. We are happy to be playing at home but we are aware we have to do the basics well.”
Dhoni recently led India to the title in the ICC Champions Trophy in the United Kingdom. He said the approach to the tournamnet would be the same one used during the global event, where they played unbeaten.
“The expectations will pretty much remain the same when it comes to Indian cricket..if things are moving it will only move in one direction which is up,” Dhoni said.
“What is very important for us is not to look too far ahead. We will take it series by series. We just finished a world tournament in the UK and now we are in the West Indies. First, we will have to see the two teams which are ahead of us. The performance was really good in UK but we need to continue.”
Mathews, who led Sri Lanka into the semi-finals in the ICC Champions Trophy, described his side as the underdogs but added that they would be looking to play to their strengths.
“We know we are up against two huge teams – they are the two current champions of the T20 and the 50-over World Cups. To match them we need to play some really good cricket and play to our strengths,” said the allrounder, who is preparing for his 98th ODI on Friday.
“We feel like the underdogs but I think I have the team to well in this format and I have confidence in my players and my team – I am getting a lot of support from all the senior guys and the junior guys.”
WEST INDIES: Dwayne Bravo (captain), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Devon Smith
INDIA: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Amit Mishra, Shami Ahmed, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay, Umesh Yadav
SRI LANKA: Angelo Mathews (captain), Dinesh Chandimal (vice captain), Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Mahela Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dilhara Lokuhettige, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Sachithra Senanayake, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne
Schedule of matches – 9:30 am
Friday, June 28: West Indies vs Sri Lanka– Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica
Sunday, June 30: West Indies vs India – Sabina Park
Tuesday, July 2: India vs Sri Lanka – Sabina Park
Friday, July 5: West Indies vs India – Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Sunday, July 7: West Indies vs Sri Lanka – Queen’s Park Oval
Tuesday, July 9: Sri Lanka vs India – Queen’s Park Oval
Thursday, July 11: The Final: 1st vs 2nd – Queen’s Park Oval