By: Calvin Roberts (Guyana Chronicle newspaper)
FORMER Guyana and West Indies skipper Clive Hubert Lloyd believes that reigning International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 champions West Indies have what it takes to repeat as champions in the present tournament that got under way last Sunday.
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy takes care of the ICC T20 Trophy, as he strolls along the beach, with the waves of the Caribbean Sea dancing in the background. (Photo courtesy Flickr.com/windiescricket)
The 69-year-old Lloyd, who played in 110 Test matches for the West Indies, scoring 7 515 runs at an average of 46.67 with 19 centuries and a top score of 242 not out against India, said the Regional side are grouped alongside India, Pakistan, Australia and a qualifier to be named, in Group 2.
“Why? We have the batting power to demoralise the opposition with Chris Gayle at the top and Dwayne Smith firing also, and to me they make probably the best opening pair in the competition,” said Lloyd.
Known as the ‘Super Cat’ during his playing days, Lloyd was seen as one of the most successful Test captains of all-time. During his captaincy, the West Indies had a run of 27 matches without defeat, which included 11 wins in succession.
He led the Regional side to back-to-back victories in the-then Prudential World Cup, lifting the title in 1975 and 1979, but missed out on a hat-trick of victories in the 1983 final, courtesy of Kapil Dev’s India 43-run win.
He believes that the only threat the West Indies have of not repeating as champions in the 2014 ICC T20 World Cup is complacency as well as sloppy fielding.
“Their only threat could be complacency and sloppy fielding. One of the key things for the West Indies is that they bat very deep and I’m sure Sunil Narine would be difficult to negotiate on surfaces that I have seen at the moment,” stated Lloyd.
Quizzed on his thoughts of seeing Windies skipper Darren Sammy emulate him as the lone skipper in International cricket to lift back-to-back World Cup titles, irrespective of the format, Lloyd said it would be great.
“It would be great for the captain Sammy to join me in retaining a World Cup title. Go for it, guys, you have the talent to be champions again and make us proud,” said Lloyd, who also played 87 ODI for the West Indies in which he scored 1 977 runs at an average of 39.54, with one century.
The West Indies, who defeated Australia by 74 runs in the second semifinal, followed by their 36-run victory over Sri Lanka in the final of the 2012 version, after losing to both sides in the preliminary round matches, will open their campaign on Sunday against India at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, in Mirpur.
To date, the Windies have gotten successful starts in the lead-up to the tournament, defeating England 2-1 in a three match series prior to their departure for Bangladesh, while they defeated both England and Sri Lanka in their two warm-up games to date.
The Windies squad reads: Darren Sammy (captain), Dwayne Bravo, Samuel Badree, Johnson Charles, Sheldon Cotterell, Andre Fletcher, Christopher Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Krishmar Santokie, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons and Dwyane Smith.