COLOMBO, Sri Lanka:
Marlon Samuels believes he will have a key role to play in the West Indies team in the upcoming ICC World T20 tournament. The top-order batsman, who also bowls clever off spin, is expected to be called upon with both bat and ball in the coming weeks as the Windies look to win the title for the first time.
"My role will be in every department - batting, bowling and fielding. I'm in good form with the bat. I did well in England and continued on against New Zealand. I have also been working hard in the nets and I feel ready," Samuels said.
"I'm always confident. I got some big scores in recent times and that also helped to boost my confidence a bit more. I feel I am on top of my game."
In terms of his bowling, Samuels said: "I've been getting in the yorkers and I approach my bowling the same way as I have always done. I'm just trying to get the balls in the block-hole and bowl as many dot balls as possible."
At age 31 and with over a decade's experience in international cricket, Samuels is one of the go-to players in the squad and he is looking forward to the challenge. He enters the tournament with superb batting form following some brilliant performances this year.
He made a career-defining 117 in the second Test against England at Nottingham and followed up with a career-best 123 against New Zealand in the victory at Sabina Park.
"The pitches here are not much different from those in the Caribbean ... slow, so you just have to wait on the ball and play it a bit later. We have a fit team and everyone is playing together. The signs are we will do well in this tournament," Samuels noted.
"If you look at T20 around the world, the people that are bowling 90mph aren't really playing. It's the people who bowl medium pace and slower balls. I'm sure once we execute our plans we will be okay, but we are not taking anybody for granted. We will be playing Ireland the same way we are going to play Australia."
The West Indies will continue their preparations with a full training session today at the R Premadasa Stadium at 9 a.m. They will have another training session tomorrow at the P Sara Oval at 2 p.m. On Monday they will have their second warm-up match against Afghanistan at P Sara Oval at 2:30 p.m.
The ICC World T20 tournament, which features 12 teams, will be played from September 18 to October 7. The West Indies have been drawn in Group B alongside Australia and Ireland, and both first-round matches will be at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Their opening match will be against the Aussies on Saturday, September 22 followed by a clash with the Irish on Monday, September 24.