West Indies have players who are capable of hitting sixes but not adept at rotating the strike: Suresh Raina
Darren Sammy is an endearing man. He is happy to keep swivelling in his chair (“this is a nice chair, man”) while waiting for journalists, and his answers are honest with few stock platitudes. “I am not Jesus Christ,” he said, when asked what Chris Gayle was possibly thinking ahead of Sunday’s meeting with India. “I don’t know what’s going on in his mind but I know he is really pumped up to play here. Whenever he is playing for the West Indies he is very pumped up.”
The West Indies captain admitted that entering the ICC World Twenty20 as the champion, there was some weight of expectation. “There is always pressure,” he said. “We are the defending champions.
Last time, the key was that even though someone did not perform in a match, we stuck together as a team. We now have more belief that we could come out there and defend the trophy.
The good thing about our team is that we don’t rely on any one player. We have at least four, five, six potential match winners in our side.”
Suresh Raina, meanwhile, stated that India will not be cowed down by the West Indian spin duo of Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree. They will be handled carefully, he said. “Pakistan had Ajmal and West Indies have Sunil Narine. In a short format like this, you have to plan every two overs as to whom to attack and whom not to. You will have to rotate between overs seven and 11, and if you can hit a loose ball for a four or a six, that’s the ideal plan against spinners.”
India’s own spinners will be key against West Indies, Raina felt. “West Indies is a totally different team. They have a lot of players who are capable of hitting sixes but they are not adept at rotating the strike,” he said.
When this was put to Sammy, he responded calmly. “Raina is free to think what he wants; we don’t care much,” he said. “If he thinks we are only six hitters, then stop us from hitting sixes.”