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West Indies look to their Under-19 side for World T20 inspiration

Darren Sammy, West Indies, Chris Gayle, Wolrd Cup T20
West Indies are looking for an encore of 2012 and only need to look to their Under-19 counterparts for inspiration. A role reversal to say the least.

Despite the now customary controversies, pitfalls and drawbacks, West Indies cricket is on the upswing. Their Under-19 squad lifted the World Cup for the first time in Bangladesh earlier this year, beating heavily-fancied India in the final. Now the attention turns to the senior pros – a group of the world’s best Twenty20 cricketers – as they look to claim their second World T20 title.

A major crisis was averted with almost the entire first-team squad agreeing to participate in the World T20, having initially threatened to withdraw due to recurring contract disputes with their Board. The only players not to complete contractual obligations were Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine. Bravo has decided to focus solely on Test cricket while Pollard and Narine – big misses due to their exhaustive T20 experience – are yet to complete rehabilitation from injury and a re-modelled bowling action respectively. Either way, Narine is currently banned from bowling in international cricket while Pollard hasn’t played a competitive match since November 2015.

Key absences apart, West Indies have one of the most fearsome line-ups in T20 cricket, on paper at least. Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, captain Darren Sammy and Andre Russell are legends (the word is used loosely here) of the Indian Premier League. Add to this experienced core is a younger group that includes Jason Holder, Johnson Charles and the Windies’ newest sensation Carlos Brathwaite. Having put their pre-tournament squabbles behind them, West Indies seem as dangerous as many predicted they would be.

What makes the conglomeration of Caribbean Islands unique is their patented brand of uniquely entertaining talents, perfectly suited to T20 cricket.  Sammy is already speaking (or attempting to speak) Hindi in the pre-tournament press conferences while Holder is being identified as the funniest member of the squad, with jokes for every occasion.

What we can expect

Don’t let the outwardly devil-may-care demeanour fool you. West Indies do care and will fight as hard as any other team to win the World T20. Along with South Africa they are the favourites to reach the semi-finals from their group, which also has England, Sri Lanka and a qualifier. West Indies are looking for an encore of 2012 and only need to look to their Under-19 counterparts for inspiration. A role reversal to say the least.

 

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