Sammy banks on experience, Morgan on exuberance

Captain Sammy has the enviable task of picking a winning combination from a group of T20 heavyweights for West Indies' opening match against a young England side in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo at the practice session in Mumbai on Tuesday.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Darren Sammy touched upon the need to be calm under pressure in a match situation, while Eoin Morgan talked about taking the game to the opposition. The West Indies skipper was talking from experience, his counterpart was talking with exuberance. The teams will clash in their opening encounter in Mumbai on Wednesday.

On the eve of the match, Sammy said: “Two sides out there have won a World Cup once, so know what it takes to be successful. Every ball in T20 can be an event, every ball leads to pressure, so we need to stay calm.” The leader of the West Indies pack said he had the enviable task of picking a winning combination from a group of T20 heavyweights. “We have 15 match-winners, only 11 can play. Someone who should be in the side may sit out.”

The batting-friendly nature of the Wankhede wicket will be to the West Indies' advantage. “Chris Gayle comes out at the start. On such tracks, with him and others around, we have the batting power. The key is for each player to accept his role and not leave it to others,” said Sammy, who is slated to compete in his fifth World T20 event. It will be Gayle and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo’s sixth successive WT20 appearance.

Morgan, with four World T20 appearances to his credit, is leading a young side. “I think it is a different group of players, it is a different energy. They enjoy taking the game to the opposition.” The England captain said his team had worked on its negatives after the 2015 World Cup debacle. “We are not afraid to go out and express ourselves. We play without the fear of consequences.”

He said a winning start would be helpful. “It is important to gain momentum as the event progresses. T20 is very funny, you could lose the momentum very quickly and gaining it back could be difficult.” Morgan is on the same page with Sammy about the relevance of spin at the Wankhede. “The ball may not turn as much as expected, it is normally a good batting surface.”

Sunil Narine is missing in the West Indies dressing room, so is Kieron Pollard. “It is always difficult to replace quality players like them. I look at it as an opportunity for others to shine.” Ashley Nurse bowls off-spin, Carlos Brathwaite is a big-hitter and both are poised to make their World Cup debut. Sammy also named Johnson Charles, a wicket-keeper/batsman and fast bowler Jason Holder to be in his probable playing XI.

Morgan felt Liam Plunkett could make a difference with his height and pace. “Given the circumstances of any pitch, he is an important player with his extra height and different trajectory. Liam has an uncanny knack of taking wickets.” He also had high hopes on Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid to excel on Indian pitches. “We find it very hard to pick Adil, let alone play him, in the nets. He and Moeen will play a big part.”

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