UNITED WINDWARDS LOOKING TO TOP THE TABLE IN 2012Monday 9th January 2012
St John’s, Antigua – Expect a “total team effort” from the Windward Islands when they turn up to do battle in the West Indies Cricket Board’s Caribbean T20 tournament. Last year the Darren Sammy-led side reached the Final Four, and this season will look to lift the trophy and take home the US$62,500 top prize.
The Windwards arrived in Antigua last week and have had several net sessions and warm-up matches in an effort to get used to the conditions as well as to put plans in place for what promises to be two weeks of action and entertainment. The first phase of the tournament will be at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds from Monday, January 9 to Saturday, January 14. The second phase will be at Kensington Oval in Barbados from Tuesday, January 17 to Sunday, January 22.
Garey Mathurin, the left-arm spinner and pinch-hitter, is one of the senior members of the Windwards team and he spoke about the upbeat mood in the camp ahead of Monday’s first match against defending champions Trinidad and Tobago. First ball is 4 pm (3 pm Jamaica Time). The second match of the night will see Leeward Islands taking on 2010 champs Guyana at 8 pm (7 pm Jamaica Time).
“We play for each other. We play together. We have always played that way and we will continue to play that way. This is the philosophy which the team management has inculcated in the squad and everyone has bought into it. When people look at us they would not say that we are a team of ‘big stars’ but we know of strengths and we play to our strengths. We have some good players in our team and I believe we can match any team in this tournament,” the 28-year-old said.
Mathurin came to prominence last September when he bowled the West Indies to victory over England in the second match of the two-game T20 International Series at the Oval in London. He took three wickets for nine runs off his four overs to win the Man-of-the-Match award in a memorable debut.
“Last year we made it to the semi-finals but we did not go on. This time around we will look to go even further and win the whole tournament. The Windwards have never won a T20 tournament in the Caribbean, but this side believes we can ‘go where no Windwards team has gone before’”, Mathurin added.
The Windwards spin bowling attack is led by Mathurin and off-spinner Shane Shillingford. Sammy, with his accurate seam bowling, is in the Top 10 in the ICC World T20 rankings for bowlers, while speedster Nelon Pascal and tall left-armer Delorn Johnson, can both be deadly with the new ball.
The batting is led Devon Smith, the left-handed stroke-maker, and Andre Fletcher, who is looking to make his mark. They also have Sammy, who is a dangerous power-hitter; along with top-order batsmen Miles Bascombe and Johnson Charles.
Mathurin said he was excited to link up with Shillingford again. “It is really good to have Shane back in the team... that is a huge boost for us. He has played at the highest level for the West Indies and he is a tremendous asset in our team. His experience in the dressing room and on the field will help all of us. I look forward to bowling in partnership with him,” Mathurin said.
The Windwards will play in Group A alongside Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Leewards Islands, and Canada.
Squad: Darren Sammy (Captain), Devon Smith (Vice Captain), Johnson Charles, Shane Shillingford, Andre Fletcher, Lindon James (Wicket-keeper), Keddy Lesporis, Tade Carmichael, Nelon Pascal, Kenroy Peters, Liam Sebastien, Delorn Johnson, Garey Mathurin,
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