WI not taking Ireland lightly
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
West Indies captain, Darren Sammy, says his team will not be taking Ireland lightly when the two meet for the second time in the Supreme Ventures Sports Betting Jamaica Cricket Festival, in a one-day international at Sabina Park today, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Sammy is performing captaincy duties in the absence of Chris Gayle who, along with four other members of the team's ICC World Twenty20 championship 15-man squad, are participating in the Indian Premier League
Sammy said, with the Irish being a part of their preliminary round group of the championship, he knows they will be coming all out to pull off a surprise and gain some psychological edge.
"While we won the first game, we will not be taking Ireland lightly as they are in the same group with us at the World Twenty20 championship and will be looking to get back at us," said Sammy.
"We will have to play good cricket in all departments and put them under pressure so that we can maintain our winning momentum," he added.
The West Indies, who could make a couple of changes to their team which defeated Canada by 208 runs in their one-day encounter on Tuesday, have so far recorded three wins from as many starts in the Festival, which is slated to end this weekend.
The Irish, on the other hand, have a record of one win and three defeats, with their only victory being a seven runs win over Jamaica in a Twenty20 clash last week Saturday.
For today's encounter, the West Indies could welcome the return of regular wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, who has overcome illness and is expected to take the glove from reserve 'keeper and opener, André Fletcher.
However, Fletcher, who made a 56-ball 48 against Canada on Tuesday, could still play, as coach Ottis Gibson continues to look at players whom he believes can help the regional team lift the World Twenty20 title.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, World Twenty20 reserve batsman Darren Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan, who made 101, 74 and 47 not out, respectively, against Canada, are expected to lead the West Indies batting charge, while pacers Ravi Rampaul, Sammy and David Bernard Jr, and spinners Suliemann Benn and Nikita Miller are expected to lead the bowling.
Ireland's coach, former West Indies opener Phil Simmons, said after his team's first loss to the West Indies that there were positive signs and hopes his team will improve today.
"I think we had them at 40 for four, or something like that, and they came back into the game, or we let them back in with some indifferent bowling. But at the same time we should be getting closer to 140," said Simmons of their Twenty20 clash.
Today's version is longer and Simmons wants consistency, especially as it relates to their out-cricket.
"Our fielding has been improving from the first game when we got here, so it shows that the guys are settling down. That's a major thing for us because I always stress that we have to take our catches, we have to run-out people and we have to bowl well too. So once we do that in our remaining matches we will be competitive," he predicted.
The West Indies will also challenge both Ireland and Canada in back-to-back Twenty20s on Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 1:00 p.m. each day, in the final games of the Festival.