Confident Sammy issues rallying cry as WI head off to World T20
Darren Sammy urged fans to continue to "rally around the West Indies" as his team flew out to Sri Lanka yesterday for this month's World Twenty20 Tournament.
The West Indies captain said the World T20 was a big deal for the team and fans around the region, and his team was already "feeling the love" from fans across the Caribbean.
"The people are really behind us and that's a fantastic feeling," said Sammy. "The players in the team have been talking about it and everyone is excited and very happy to see the way the people have come out and offered their support.
"A few days ago, we played two practice matches at the Three Ws Oval here in Barbados and it was truly amazing to see how many fans came out to watch the matches, talk to us and encourage us. People have been talking to us on the streets and have just been warm and friendly."
He said: "It is always good to have the 'team of supporters' rallying behind the team, and I want to urge everyone to continue to rally around the West Indies.
"This is a huge tournament for the team and the fans as well, so we will go to Sri Lanka and give it all we've got. We believe we can win, but it will be hard, tough work. Once we play together and continue to get the backing of the fans, we know we can lift the title."
West Indies spent the last nine days in Barbados where they held a preparatory camp under head coach Ottis Gibson at the Sagicor High Performance Centre.
Depth and star quality
Sammy said the team has depth and star quality in all departments.
"The camp went very well and we are all in the right frame of mind," he said. "We will head off to Sri Lanka believing in ourselves and believing in each other.
"We are a strong unit and, as the coach said a few days ago, we have depth in the squad. Everyone is aware of his role and knows exactly what is required."
He added: "Sri Lanka is a really nice place to play cricket and a great place to visit. The conditions should be helpful to our style of play and we just want to go out and play a brand of cricket that would bring joy to our supporters all over the world."
The World T20 Tournament, which features 12 teams, will be played from September 18 to October 7.
West Indies have been drawn in Group B along with Australia and Ireland - and both first-round matches will be played at the Premadasa Stadium in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.
West Indies open the tournament against the Aussies on Saturday, September 22, followed by a clash with the Irish on Monday, September 24.
SQUAD: Darren Sammy (captain), Dwayne Bravo (vice-captain), Samuel Badree, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.
Thursday, Sep 13: West Indies vs Sri Lanka - NCC, Colombo
Monday, Sep 17: West Indies vs Afghanistan - P Sara Oval, Colombo
Saturday, Sep 22: vs Australia - R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Monday, Sep 24: vs Ireland - R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Super Eight matches
Thursday, Sep 27: C1 v D2 -Pallekele
Thursday, Sep 27: A1 v B2 -Pallekele
Friday, Sep 28: D1 v C2 - Colombo
Friday, Sep 28: B1 v A2 - Colombo
Saturday, Sep 29: A1 v D2 - Pallekele
Saturday, Sep 29: C1 v B2 - Pallekele
Sunday Sep 30: B1 v C2 - Colombo
Sunday Sep 30: D1 v A2 - Colombo
Monday, Oct 1: B2 v D2 - Pallekele
Monday, Oct 1: A1 v C1 - Pallekele
Tuesday, Oct 2: B1 v D1 - Colombo
Tuesday, Oct 2: A2 v C2 - Colombo
Thursday, Oct 4: Super 8 Group 1-1 vs Super 8 Group 2-2 - R Premadasa Stadium
Friday, Oct 5: Super 8 Group 2-1 vs Super 8 Group 1-2 - R Premadasa Stadium
Sunday, Oct 7 - R Premadasa Stadium