(CMC) — Captain Carlos Brathwaite says West Indies need to be relaxed and play with freedom, as they prepare to face a dangerous Bangladesh side in the opening Twenty20 International of the three-match series here tonight.
“We play best when we enjoy ourselves, when we’re having fun, when it’s a relaxed atmosphere which it has been,” Brathwaite said yesterday ahead of the opening contest at Warner Park.
“And once we take that relaxed atmosphere on to the pitch in expressing ourselves, I’m sure we’ll come out on top. Big respect to Bangladesh, they’re a formidable white-ball team, as we saw in the just-concluded ODI series.
“But we know that once we put our ‘A’ game out, that not much teams can touch us on our day — and that’s the plan for the course of the three-game series.”
West Indies are reigning T20 World champions following their triumph in India two years ago, but have lost their last five outings in bilateral series against Pakistan and New Zealand.
However, they will be favourites to get the better of Bangladesh with the likes of Andre Russell and Marlon Samuels available following injury, and white-ball specialists Rovman Powell and Kesrick Williams also in the line-up.
And with much of the side coming off stints in the recent Global T20 Canada league, Brathwaite expects his troops to be on top of their game.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the boys get out there and express themselves. The majority of the boys [are coming] from the Canada T20 and they’ve been doing very well there,” the all-rounder explained.
“Traditionally we have been powerhouses, and it’s a matter of every time we get together we continue to exert that dominance. I just like enjoying watching the boys express themselves and hopefully this is another opportunity over the three-game series to see such.”
West Indies will hope to draw first blood here in order to take an advantage into the double-header at the weekend, scheduled for the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, United States.
The Caribbean side boast a decent record at the venue, having won three of the six matches there and lost twice, and Brathwaite said he expected high-scoring affairs in the fixtures there.
“A bit of runs are always scored there so it should be exciting cricket for the fans. Hopefully we get a very big turnout and very good atmosphere from the West Indian population in the US,” the Barbadian said.
“It’s always a challenge, especially as a captain, setting fields and managing expectations with the ball as a bowler as well. As a batting unit, it is about staying disciplined and not letting the fact that it is a high-scoring ground get the best of us and play on our ego.
“It’s just about executing, and in games like those — even here in St Kitts [which is a] pretty small ground and traditionally high-scoring — it’s about staying disciplined and having the right attitude, whether with ball in hand or bat in hand.”
SQUADS: WEST INDIES – Carlos Brathwaite (captain), Samuel Badree, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Marlon Samuels, Evin Lewis, Andre Russell, Denesh Ramdin, Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Ashley Nurse, Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams.
BANGLADESH – Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hassan, Nazmul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Hider, Abu Jayed, Ariful Haque.