Mumbai: Chris Gayle and his fellow West Indies old-timers are determined to enjoy one last hurrah and silence their critics in a “David and Goliath” World Twenty20 semi-final against India, skipper Darren Sammy said on Wednesday. (India vs West Indies, World T20 Semifinal: Virat Kohli or Chris Gayle, Who Will Come up Trumps?)
The 36-year-old Gayle, dubbed by Sammy as a master of the universe, is one of a group of ageing gunslingers from the Caribbean who know that the ongoing tournament in India represents their final shot at glory. (World T20: India’s Weapons For Semi-Finals Are Virat Kohli and Spin)
Their demise in Test match cricket has dismayed many legends from the West Indies’ heyday in the 1980s and 90s while the team have often been at loggerheads with their own board over money. (India vs West Indies, World T20 Semi-Final – Factbox)
But on the eve of the semi-final in Mumbai against India, Sammy said his team had already proved a point to their critics and their problems with their paymasters had only brought them closer together.
“There were a lot of issues before the tournament, a lack of respect for our T20 team. A lot has been said about this team (but) that just brought us closer together,” said Sammy.
“You can see in the way we’ve played we think it’s us against the world … and that’s how we’ve gone out and played.
“Tomorrow is no bigger day to express that because I don’t think we’ll have one Indian supporter. It’s going to be a massive game and it’s a challenge we are ready for.”
India have been the favourites to win the tournament on their home soil from the off, and they will be roared on by a packed house at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium on Thursday.
But Sammy said his team would not be intimidated by the atmosphere and would instead relish it.
‘Hell of a game’
“It’s going to be a hell of a game. It’s going to be 15 West Indian players versus thousands and how many billion here in India. It’s a challenge we’re ready to face.
“The guys who predict the results, I think they say it’s 80-20 to India so it feels like a David and Goliath but people tend to forget that David won the fight. It’s something similar to that.”
Most British bookmakers are less generous in fact, but give India a 2-1 odds on price while giving the West Indies 2-1 against.
The West Indies won the 2012 edition of the trophy but Sammy admitted that many of the players might not be around for the next one in 2020.
“We have a number of guys in their thirties,” said Sammy who is himself in the autumn of his career. Asked if the tournament felt like a last hurrah for a number of players, he replied “Yeah, I think so.”
“The next T20 World Cup is in four years. The ‘World Universe Boss’ (Gayle) will be 40. I’ll be 36. So yes, we really put our all into this tournament and the guys in the dressing room are aware of what’s at stake.
“It’s six steps to the cup. We’ve taken four, we had a little pothole in the road (a reference to Sunday’s defeat against Afghanistan) but we’ll brush ourselves off and the step tomorrow is against India and we’re looking forward to it.
“I think this year could be the year for the West Indies.”
The winners of Thursday’s semi-final will take on either New Zealand or England who are playing in the other last-four clash in New Delhi. The final is on Sunday in Kolkata.