International Cricket Council
Sammy

Sammy backs West Indies to defend T20 World Cup Crown

After leading the West Indies to the trophy in 2016, few know the defending champions better than Daren Sammy, who was also a member of the triumphant 2012 campaign in Sri Lanka.

Speaking with Isa Guha and Dinesh Karthik on the ICC World Cup digital preview show, Sammy feels the West Indies have timed their run to hold on to the trophy, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

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“We (the West Indies) don’t intend to give it back as yet.”

“My boys are game and they’re going to be peaking at the right time. It’s an amazing event.”

“Covid has really given us the opportunity to cherish it some more and understand what it means to have the World Cup twice and make us more motivated to get it a third time.” 

A large contingent of the West Indian playing group for the upcoming tournament have been along for the journey, which also includes a semi-final appearance in the 2014 tournament, where they lost to eventual winners Sri Lanka in a rain-affected affair.

Sammy stresses that there will be no respite for opposition bowlers, even if the defending champions fail to race out of the blocks at the top of the order.

Video cwc19 17 Aug 21
Guha, Karthik and Sammy break down the T20 World Cup fixtures

“The calibre of players we have, when you look at captain Pollard, he’s back, the Universe Boss Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Fabian Allen, Evin Lewis, I could go on a long list of guys who can just take the attack to you.”

Boasting a T20I batting strike rate of over 150, few targets are out of Russell’s reach, and for his former captain, the impact he makes with the ball only adds to his Player of the Tournament credentials.

“Someone like an Andre Russell, who bowls and bats and comes in at crucial times will come out with that title.”

Things won’t go all the West Indies way, who have a tough opener against England on October 23. Looking to right the wrongs of the 2016 final, England have T20 World Cup pedigree, winning the 2010 tournament.

“When you look at England who have been playing some excellent T20 cricket, finalists in the last one in 2016, they won it in the Caribbean. To me what that says, two venues where the pitches are similar – India and the Caribbean – they’ve won and they’ve got to the Final, so their players adjust to the conditions quite well.

“In this stage, every team looking at the group stage will be thinking you’ve got to start well. I expect England and West Indies to come out of that group. The person who tops this group gets to the final.”

For all of the big names with impressive T20 credentials though, the next crop of international talent for the West Indies looks ready to make their mark on the big stage. Leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Junior has impressed, and Sammy believes the newcomer is the man to fill the shoes of Samuel Badree as the team’s premier spinner for the 2021 campaign.

“He’s been working really hard on his game. He is one to watch out for. 

“If he can bowl well for the West Indies in UAE, this is the missing piece of the puzzle. No Samuel Badree, if he can come and do well we will definitely win this tournament.”

Despite the best efforts of the other 15 teams at the tournament beginning on October 17, Sammy makes no apologies for who he thinks will lift the trophy in Dubai on November 14.

“It’s a no brainer for me – West Indies all the way.”