Sammy tips Gayle to shine for West Indies

Captain Darren Sammy remains calm amid West Indies’ chaotic ICC World Twenty20 build-up – and has backed star batsman Chris Gayle to do likewise.

Sammy leads a side shorn of spinner Sunil Narine, due to a ban for an illegal bowling action, and withdrawn duo Kieron Pollard and Darren Bravo as they provide England’s opening opponents tomorrow. 

With the big-hitting Gayle at the top of the order, though, the Windies remain a dangerous proposition.

“We have one of the most destructive T20 batsman at the top in Chris, but there’s never too much pressure on him,” said Sammy.

“Chris will just do what Chris has done throughout his career. Chris can turn it on whenever he feels like it.”

Chris Gayle's big hitting at the top of the order is sure to be a feature of West Indies' World T20 campaign

Sammy, captain when the Windies won the 2012 tournament, is experienced enough and has the laid-back demeanour to handle the long-running distraction of disputes over player contracts and remuneration.

“As a team we always have setbacks,” he said.

“We can use that as motivation to go out and play well. When we play well, no other team can match it… the vibes we bring.

“With the players we have in the dressing-room, we are confident. I look at our lower order and it always makes me smile.

“We’re all fired up. It was the same feeling when we went to Sri Lanka and won it. This is a format we’re really confident in.”

Sammy’s unbeaten 28-ball half-century led the Windies to a warm-up win over Australia on Sunday, three days after they lost to tournament hosts India.

Darren Sammy celebrates after hammering West Indies to a World T20 warm-up win over Australia in Kolkata

Past meetings with England in the tournament have gone the way of the Caribbean side, with wins on the Duckworth-Lewis method in 2009 and during the 2010 tournament eventually won by England.

Then in 2012, Gayle and Johnson Charles shared a century opening stand to set up a 15-run win despite Alex Hales’ fifty and current England captain Eoin Morgan’s unbeaten 71 off 36 balls.

“Every game is a new one but they’ve not beaten us in a (World T20) before,” said Sammy.

“We’re ready. Come 7.30pm (on Wednesday) the West Indies will be ready to take on England.”

Source: ECB

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