Warm-up games to help shape final XI - Sammy
SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates, (CMC):
West Indies Twenty20 captain Darren Sammy says the unofficial warm-up games against Zimbabwe and Warwickshire will be used to help tour selectors determine the best XI for the upcoming T20 World Cup in India.
The Windies face Zimbabwe in the first of four warm-up games at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium today at 7:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m. Jamaica time).
They take on the African unit again on Monday, before clashing with Warwickshire on March 4 and again two days later.
Sammy said the side was such a strong one that finding a final XI could prove a headache.
"We have the core of our team. Obviously, we have some new players coming into our World Cup team like Carlos (Brathwaite), Jason Holder, Sulieman Benn, Ashley Nurse ... they are coming back into the team. We need to come up with a combination that we think will help us win the World Cup," the experienced all-rounder said yesterday.
"To be fair, it will be tough to select that 11-man squad. Carlos has played really well, Jason [has played well], Benn becomes a very important fact with Narine pulling out of the World Cup, so it's just about fine-tuning ourselves, both technically and tactically."
He added: "We will use those four games here - the two against Zimbabwe especially - to come up with the XI that will closely be what we want to play in the World Cup."
West Indies enter the T20 World Cup as one of the favourites, especially after winning the event in 2012 in Sri Lanka and reaching the semi-finals two years ago in Bangladesh.
They have retained the likes of superstar opener Chris Gayle, all-rounder AndrÈ Russell, Dwayne Bravo, and Lendl Simmons - all of whom are in great demand on the global T20 circuit.
Sammy said he was pleased with the side's preparations, especially with several members of the squad having played in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League here.
"It has been good. Eight guys from the squad have been here playing in the Pakistan Super League," he pointed out.
"The conditions have been similar to what we will get in India ... and now we have the camp, which will help us prepare even further for the World Cup.
"It's always good to be back in West Indies colours, especially in T20 cricket - a format that we have a World Cup and which we are confident of playing really well in."
West Indies will wrap up their preparation camp on March 7 and fly to Kolkata, where they will play official warm-up games against Australia and India.
The T20 World Cup runs from March 8 to April 3.