Windies to show class in 1st T20
West Indies will play like true champions.
That was the word from skipper Darren Sammy who is back from a short break to lead the side in the Twenty20 Internationals against Zimbabwe this weekend at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
The first T20I bowls off at 2 p.m. today with the home team skipper upbeat about his side's chances.
"We are world champions and every time we go out to play we have to play like world champions. We have to let other teams know we mean business. This is a format we have done well in and we will look to always dominate," said Sammy as his side play their first T20 in the Caribbean since winning the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
"We come here to play our brand of cricket--the brand which won us the World Cup for the people of the Caribbean. This is the first T20 International in the Caribbean since we won the World Cup and this is a great opportunity for the fans to come out and watch their world champions play. We anticipate a good turnout and we will look to win for our loyal supporters," the skipper added.
The West Indies have been on a good run in the shortest format, beating Bangladesh in December last year before whipping Australia in Australia in Brisbane last month.
West Indies go into the two-match series as favorites but Zimbabwe will have other ideas with the T20s offering them the best chance to cause an upset.
Zimbabwe were unable to cause any surprises during the World Twenty20 last year, but though they are up against the champions in the format, they do possess some firepower in their batting to make an impact.
Malcolm Waller is one of Zimbabwe's batsmen who can accelerate. He looked good in the ODI series, scoring a half-century and then getting some quick runs in the middle order, including two sixes, in the second ODI.
He has a healthy strike-rate of 84 in the ODI format but is yet to do something significant with the bat in the shortest version.
Despite their dominance over Zimbabwe in the ODI series, Sammy insisted: "I know we have not taken Zimbabwe lightly.
"We will come out and play good, competitive cricket. Looking back at the one-dayers, three disciplines fired. We have a good combination and we will look to improve our performances."
For the hosts, fast bowler Shannon Gabriel has been called up for the first time in T20 cricket and all-rounder Christopher Barwnell has been recalled. Both were outstanding performers in January's Caribbean T20. Gabriel bowled with pace to win the Player-of-the-Match award in the final, while Barnwell caught the selector's eye with a superb match-winning knock against Jamaica in the play-off.
Sammy welcomed the inclusion of both players and said he is quite impressed with their preparations for the series, saying that he expected both men to play in at least one of the games.
"They have been rewarded for a very good Caribbean T20 tournament. They both played really well for their teams and took them to the finals. They have both played at the international level before so this won't be altogether new for them. We will try to give everybody an opportunity. I expect to see them both play, if not in both games, at least in one game," the skipper concluded.
Squads: West Indies–Darren Sammy (Captain), Samuel Badree Christopher Barnwell, Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Shannon Gabriel, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons
Zimbabwe–Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor (capt), Craig Ervine, Malcolm Waller, Regis Chakabva, Chamu Chibhabha, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Natsai M'Shangwe, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu.