(Trinidad Express) Head coach Phil Simmons says West Indies will be bracing for a backlash from India, stemming from their triumph in the Twenty World Cup earlier this year, but expects his proven unit of T20 stars to execute when the two-match series bowls off over the weekend in Florida.
The West Indies take on India on Saturday at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium in the opening T20 before returning to the venue for the second match on Sunday.
The last time the two teams met in a T20 contest was during the T20 World Cup semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai last March, when the Caribbean side spectacularly chased down 193 to win in the last over.
“We prepare for the two days here the same way we would have prepared before. It’s just that India’s team has been together for longer. We have a way of preparing and we’ll do that over the next two days,” Simmons told a media conference here yesterday.
“We’re trying to prepare as best as we can. The thing about it is that India will be coming looking for revenge for the semi-final loss and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready for whatever they bring.”
He added: “As in Mumbai, there’s more motivation just to beat India because I think that’s always going to be the team in the world to beat in T20 cricket because they’ve commanded the format for a long period, so winning against India is always going to be high on the agenda.”
For the hastily arranged games here, West Indies have called up their leading T20 players, with the likes of opener Chris Gayle, off-spinner Sunil Narine and all-rounders Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell all expected to feature.
With the exception of Pollard and Narine, all the leading players were present for the T20 World Cup when West Indies won an unprecedented second title.
Simmons said having a full strength squad made life easier for West Indies, as most of the players possessed vast experienced in the shortest format.
“It’s always good to have all the senior guys back and they make things easy for me because it’s a case of them doing all the work, as they know about this format inside out; so it gives me a chance to just enjoy them freeing up themselves out there,” the Trinidadian pointed out.
He added: “In this context, it’s a case where we are World champions and it (T20s) is something we have sort of made our own, similar to back in the 80s when we made Test cricket our own.
“We always are the team to beat in T20 cricket, so from that point of view … it’s good to know that all the guys are loving playing it, but it’s also a stepping stone to one-day cricket too.”
West Indies are coming off a chastening experience in the just-concluded four-Test series where they were outplayed to lose 2-0. They lost the first Test by an innings and 92 runs inside four days and the third Test by 237 runs.
However, Simmons said there would not be much of a transition to make to the T20 format seeing the team, under new captain Carlos Brathwaite, was almost a completely different one to the Test set-up.
“It could be a bit different but I think there are only three players here who played in that series,” he noted.
“So it’s not that much of a transition because the three players know how to play this and one of the players just played in the World Cup batting-wise, so I think we’re easy with that transition.”