BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Captain Darren Sammy says West Indies plan to play tough cricket against Australia when they meet in a five-match one-day international series starting early next month.
The tour starts with a game against a Ricky Ponting-led Prime Minister's XI on January 29 in Canberra before the West Indies players head to Perth for the first two ODIs.
Speaking to reporters just before the players left the Caribbean Wednesday, Sammy says his charges intend to take the fight straight to the Aussies.
"We are going down there confident and we are ready to play the game very, very hard. We expect Australia to come at us and we are not going to sit back and let it happen," Sammy insisted.
"We are going to play the game in the true spirit that it should be played in, but yet still we are going to play it very very tough."
Sammy says his players are match ready, having participated in the Caribbean T20 tournament which ended Sunday after two fiercely competitive weeks of exciting cricket.
The Windies captain says he is encouraged by the pitches in Australia, which are similar to the one at the Beausejour Cricket Ground in St Lucia where final matches in the Caribbean T20 tournament were played.
"The good thing for us is that we have been playing matches. Most, if not all the guys in the squad have been playing in the Caribbean T20 and so we are match ready," said Sammy.
Included in the 15-man squad is experienced batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan, who has not played for West Indies in nearly 19 months owing to poor form and fitness, and a strained relationship with the regional authorities.
Sammy says he is confident that Sarwan, who has played 173 one-day internationals scoring 5,644 runs at an average of 43.41, could turn around his struggling career in Australia.
"Sarwan will be an integral part in the team like he has been when he is in the squad. Sarwan, I think, is equally capable to go out there and fill in that number-three position," he said.