WEST INDIES T20 captain Kieron Pollard said the team used Carlos Brathwaite’s memorable innings in 2016 as a source of inspiration leading into the team’s opening match of the International Cricket Council T20 World Cup.
West Indies will play England in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at 10 am (TT time), on Saturday.
West Indies will play in Group One alongside England, Australia, Bangladesh, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
Group Two will feature Afghanistan, India, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Scotland.
The top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals.
West Indies defeated England in a memorable T20 final in 2016 in India. Needing 19 runs off the final over Brathwaite struck four consecutive sixes off the first four balls of the over, bowled by pacer Ben Stokes, to pull off an improbable win.
Pollard, asked if the final five years ago will have any bearing on Saturday’s match, said, “In terms of personnel and bearing, to say it will have a big impact, I don’t think so, but it is definitely going to be in the back of their minds. I thought what Carlos did in those four deliveries in that last over it’s unbelievable.”
Pollard said the team viewed Brathwaite’s spectacular feat on Thursday which brought joy to the camp.
“It is something as a team we actually saw (on Thursday) night and it brought goose bumps back to us. And, for us to be in that situation and get over the line, it shows that sort of never-say-die attitude and, we as a team, we look forward to try to replicate winning the entire tournament. But those sort of moments sort of stick with us. Hopefully we can just go out and play good cricket and get in a position and a situation where we actually in the final, so we could have some memories as well going forward.”
Andre Russell picked up a hamstring injury in the recently concluded 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL). Pollard said Russell is not guaranteed to play, but he would have been assessed in the team’s final training session on Friday.
“We will just have a last look and see if we are confident for him to take the field.”
Pollard said the practice match against Afghanistan on Wednesday was a trial match for Russell to monitor his progress.
Pollard said Russell is working “tirelessly behind the scenes to be fit.”
West Indies lost to Pakistan by seven wickets in a warm-up match on Monday, before falling by 56 runs to Afghanistan on Wednesday.
“I think the mood is upbeat. Yes we accept that the two warm-up games would not have gone how we wanted in terms of scoring the amount of runs and the intent we were looking for.”
Pollard said the players are ready for the challenge and eager to start the tournament.
West Indies cricket stakeholders have questioned why experienced off-spinner Sunil Narine was not selected on the 15-man squad for the World Cup.
The Cricket West Indies selectors said Narine did not meet the fitness standard.
Pollard said Narine will be a huge loss.
“In terms of Sunil obviously it is a big miss for any team. It is something that we sort of can’t question in terms of his ability and his talent and what he has achieved not only in IPL, (but) what he has done in CPL (Caribbean Premier League), what he has done over the years as a spinner. (He is) maybe one of the greatest spinners to play this format of the game.”
Left-arm spin bowling all-rounder Fabian Allen was ruled out of the tournament days ago after picking up an injury in the IPL. He was replaced by left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein and another left-arm spinner in Gudakesh Motie was drafted into the team as a reserve.
Pollard said Allen will be missed, but Hosein is a capable replacement.
WEST INDIES: Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Dwayne Bravo, Roston Chase, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jnr. Reserves - Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder, Gudakesh Motie.
ENGLAND: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Tymal Mills, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood. Reserves - Liam Dawson, James Vince, Reece Topley.