Windies seek 'winning start'
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
West Indies and Ireland will meet in the first fixture of their two-match Twenty20 International series at Sabina Park today.
The match-up, which is set to bowl off at 2 p.m., is expected to see both fielding their strongest teams as they prepare for next month's International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 Championship in Bangladesh.
To be captained by Darren Sammy, West Indies are set to welcome the return of marquee batsmen Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, who were injured late last year.
The duo are expected to form the backbone of the team's batting with in-form Dwayne Smith, Lendl Simmons and Dwayne Bravo.
The team's bowling is likely to revolve around Bravo and fellow all-rounders Sammy and André Russell, along with the recalled Krishmar Santokie, off-spinner Sunil Narine and leg-spinner Samuel Badree.
Have to execute
"In any cricket series, it is important that you start well, and come tomorrow, that will be our intention - to win," said Sammy.
"As I have said before, Ireland may be underdogs, but they are not to be taken lightly, and as such, we will have to come out and execute."
Ireland, as they have done before by pulling off a few surprises at the World Twenty20, will enter the contest on the back of a first-round exit from the just-concluded regional Super50 tournament.
According to their coach, Phil Simmons, Ireland will be looking to put that series behind them.
"The Super50 was a good experience for the team, albeit we won one and lost two of our matches," Simmons said.
"We are, however, preparing for the World T20, and as such this series is just another step in that direction.
"We will, therefore, approach it with the intent of winning each game and take it from there," noted Simmons.
The Irish will be led by experienced captain William Porterfield, Alex Cusack, Paul Stirling, Gary Wilson and the O'Brien brothers - Kevin and Niall - who have all played in three World Twenty20 Championships to date.
The series' second game is set for Friday at the same venue.
West Indies (from): Darren Sammy (captain), Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo, André Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, André Russell, Marlon Samuels, Krishmar Santokie, Lendl Simmons and Dwayne Smith.
Ireland (from): William Porterfield (captain), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andrew McBrine, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Andrew Poynter, James Shannon, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young.