India v West Indies, World T20, Group 2, Mirpur March 22, 2014

Sammy throws down the big-hitting gauntlet

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It is no secret that West Indies sometimes love hitting fours and sixes to the point where they can ignore the need to rotate the strike. It is a habit that has hurt them often in limited overs cricket and Suresh Raina said India would be looking to target that on Sunday.

"They are a completely different team, they have players who can hits sixes," Raina said. "They do not know much of rotating the strike against spinners, with ones and twos. It is important we put early pressure."

Darren Sammy's response to Raina's opinion was one of casual indifference: "We don't care much about what Raina thinks. If he thinks we are only six-hitters, then stop us from hitting sixes."

West Indies, the defending champions, the entertainers and a team with some of the leading lights of the T20 format are here. And while Sammy admitted there is pressure going into the tournament with their title on the line, he also said he was pleased that he had at his disposal a balanced, "very good" team.

"We have top T20 players who have played around the world. We have [Chris] Gayle, [Sunil] Narine, [Dwayne] Bravo, all of them have a lot of experience playing T20. With the two openers, we have guys who can give us great impetus in the first six overs. Then we have Marlon [Samuels], Bravo and myself to finish the innings.

"The good thing about our team is that we don't rely on any one player. We have at least four, five, six potential match-winners in our side. Spin will play an important part in this tournament and the team which can handle spin better will come out victorious but I am quite happy about the team we have here. In the short format, the bulk of the runs will come from the top four or five batsmen and I think we are very strong at the top of the order with Marlon, Simmons, me and Bravo.

"If you look at our bowling unit, we have Narine who is, to me, the No 1 bowler in this format, (Samuel) Badree, Bravo, and we have a young guy called Krishmar Santokie who could have a great impact in this tournament. He is the leading T20 bowler in the Caribbean and he has played in the Caribbean T20 league and taken a lot of wickets. Most of his wickets are clean-bowled and lbws. He has a lot of variation, not quick, but you will see. You have to see him to know exactly what I mean when he gets his opportunity. So we are happy with the balance of our side. And yes, we are a very good team especially in this format."

For Sammy, the one major change from 2012 is that his players are more experienced. He admitted, however, that the team will still need the big players to step up and help West Indies make it two in two.

"There is always pressure. We are the defending champions," Sammy said. "This time our players are a lot more experienced, the last time our key players had a brilliant tournament. And the key was even though someone did not perform in a match we stuck together as a team. I think this time it is even more important that we have our key guys perform consistently. As a team, we now have more belief that we could come out there and defend the trophy."

Several West Indies players are important cogs for their IPL franchises, and Raina mentioned that India knew the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents. Sammy, though, did not think that familiarity was necessarily an advantage.

"Cricket is a game of shifting confidence. You can know your opponent from the last time you have played but he went back and worked on his game," Sammy said. "To me it is about going out there and using the conditions right, rather than looking at the other's game. In this time and age they have footage everywhere. You can see the last match played by any cricketer and come up with a formula you think might work. But we have a general idea of what their side is and what they are capable of."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | March 24, 2014, 0:04 GMT

    Sammy's gauntlet Misfired & back fired! As I stated earlier, Indian bowling focussed on accuracy which sealed the fate of the WI. Even for the modest total of 129, they should thank Ashwin & Yuvraj for dropping Gayle at 0 & 19. If yuvraj was caught at Zero, I shudder to think what the final total would have been. Also Sammy's XI excluded the real Bowlers & had some unknown guys. Bowling wins matches not just power hitting. So Mr. Sammy you need to rotate the strike + be powerful hitters to succeed in T20. That is the only way you can Walk the Talk!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 23, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    WI batted out more than 60 dot balls today, almost all of it against India's spinners. So we can safely say WI batsmen don't know how to rotate strike against spinners. Raina 1 Sammy 0.

  • POSTED BY Bruisers on | March 23, 2014, 11:41 GMT

    Well, Raina is right. In the recently concluded T20 series between West Indies and England, the WI batting lineup struggled to rotate strike against Tredwell (12 overs - 61 runs, 1 wicket). Even Bopara found success with his medium pace (12 overs - 61 runs, 5 wickets). Clearly, the WI batsmen prefer the quicker bowlers which is why Varun Aaron must not be picked in the team. Go with three spinners or two spinners+Binny.

  • POSTED BY steve48 on | March 23, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    Being able to clear the boundary AND manoeuvre the ball for singles and twos is the domain of only the very best players, requiring flexibility of mind, stance and the ability to work out which shot is appropriate in the blink of an eye! Maybe the Windies don't have quite the balance of hitters and nudgers, but great fun to watch!

  • POSTED BY scottyg on | March 23, 2014, 9:51 GMT

    India bowl trash, West Indies will win Ashwin and Jadeja are possibly the most overrated cricketers in the world...

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2014, 9:22 GMT

    All the best team India. Absolutely no change required in playing 11. Yes Yuvraj had a bad day on field against Pakistan. But it is a part of the game. Everybody faces the phase. May be today Yuvraj's day. Rohit, Shikhar, Virat, Raina, Dhoni, Jadeja, everybody is a match winner. No need to worry atall. The only and the biggest worry for India is fielding. Against Pakistan too our fielding was not upto standards. The story of 2014 for India is not batting failure, but fielding failure. Just Remember three names. Williamson ( 1st test droped by Vijay on 31, made 119 ), Maccullum ( 2nd test droped by Kohli on 9, made 302 ) and Sangakara ( got life on 29, made 102 in Asia Cup ). If Indians had not missed theses opprtunities.... Anyways. The only thing for worry is fielding. India must improove their fielding. We servived against Pakistan as dropped catches didnt prooved costely. But some other day like before it may cost us match. Rohit & Shikhar I hope will give flying start as Pak. ATB.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | March 23, 2014, 7:09 GMT

    It's good and fun for world cricket to see WI win and reach final!

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    India has ro sort out its fast bowling unit.We are unable to produce good quality fast bowlers which is a big concern.Not every time we should expect Jadeja ,Raina or Yuvraj to act as fillers.They may go for plenty on any day.As far as this match is concerned West Indies have a slight edge over India as our openers ,batting and bowling both, are not consistent.

  • POSTED BY mushi333 on | March 23, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    gayle is not big factor, badree & santoke is big factor.if wi bowling fast & stop india 170-180 then achange for WI . Go WI GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

  • POSTED BY realfan on | March 23, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    @Mohammad Tariqul Islam : yeah man, first you follow cricket correctly and coment here... every other person with half baked cricket knowledge coments here...

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | March 24, 2014, 0:04 GMT

    Sammy's gauntlet Misfired & back fired! As I stated earlier, Indian bowling focussed on accuracy which sealed the fate of the WI. Even for the modest total of 129, they should thank Ashwin & Yuvraj for dropping Gayle at 0 & 19. If yuvraj was caught at Zero, I shudder to think what the final total would have been. Also Sammy's XI excluded the real Bowlers & had some unknown guys. Bowling wins matches not just power hitting. So Mr. Sammy you need to rotate the strike + be powerful hitters to succeed in T20. That is the only way you can Walk the Talk!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 23, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    WI batted out more than 60 dot balls today, almost all of it against India's spinners. So we can safely say WI batsmen don't know how to rotate strike against spinners. Raina 1 Sammy 0.

  • POSTED BY Bruisers on | March 23, 2014, 11:41 GMT

    Well, Raina is right. In the recently concluded T20 series between West Indies and England, the WI batting lineup struggled to rotate strike against Tredwell (12 overs - 61 runs, 1 wicket). Even Bopara found success with his medium pace (12 overs - 61 runs, 5 wickets). Clearly, the WI batsmen prefer the quicker bowlers which is why Varun Aaron must not be picked in the team. Go with three spinners or two spinners+Binny.

  • POSTED BY steve48 on | March 23, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    Being able to clear the boundary AND manoeuvre the ball for singles and twos is the domain of only the very best players, requiring flexibility of mind, stance and the ability to work out which shot is appropriate in the blink of an eye! Maybe the Windies don't have quite the balance of hitters and nudgers, but great fun to watch!

  • POSTED BY scottyg on | March 23, 2014, 9:51 GMT

    India bowl trash, West Indies will win Ashwin and Jadeja are possibly the most overrated cricketers in the world...

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2014, 9:22 GMT

    All the best team India. Absolutely no change required in playing 11. Yes Yuvraj had a bad day on field against Pakistan. But it is a part of the game. Everybody faces the phase. May be today Yuvraj's day. Rohit, Shikhar, Virat, Raina, Dhoni, Jadeja, everybody is a match winner. No need to worry atall. The only and the biggest worry for India is fielding. Against Pakistan too our fielding was not upto standards. The story of 2014 for India is not batting failure, but fielding failure. Just Remember three names. Williamson ( 1st test droped by Vijay on 31, made 119 ), Maccullum ( 2nd test droped by Kohli on 9, made 302 ) and Sangakara ( got life on 29, made 102 in Asia Cup ). If Indians had not missed theses opprtunities.... Anyways. The only thing for worry is fielding. India must improove their fielding. We servived against Pakistan as dropped catches didnt prooved costely. But some other day like before it may cost us match. Rohit & Shikhar I hope will give flying start as Pak. ATB.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | March 23, 2014, 7:09 GMT

    It's good and fun for world cricket to see WI win and reach final!

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    India has ro sort out its fast bowling unit.We are unable to produce good quality fast bowlers which is a big concern.Not every time we should expect Jadeja ,Raina or Yuvraj to act as fillers.They may go for plenty on any day.As far as this match is concerned West Indies have a slight edge over India as our openers ,batting and bowling both, are not consistent.

  • POSTED BY mushi333 on | March 23, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    gayle is not big factor, badree & santoke is big factor.if wi bowling fast & stop india 170-180 then achange for WI . Go WI GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

  • POSTED BY realfan on | March 23, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    @Mohammad Tariqul Islam : yeah man, first you follow cricket correctly and coment here... every other person with half baked cricket knowledge coments here...

  • POSTED BY realfan on | March 23, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    @electric_loco_WAP4 : yeah just like how afridi hit 100 last night with boundaries and sixes??? lol .. dude i dont know which country you are but, seriously you follow indian cricket more than any indian... this is good development for indian cricket.... when it comes to commenting in indian matches every other nations fan come and comment... so much following..... and one adive for you ... every time you coment here, you are making fun of yourself... good for you

  • POSTED BY anoop3301 on | March 23, 2014, 5:02 GMT

    @electric_loco_WAP4: remember worldT20 2012 ? Not rotating the strike did not prove to be an issue in the final against the most pathetic and over rated team in the world.The likes of Samuels were hitting sixes at will against colombo track bullies. I guess you better worry about your own team's issues as they are big time chokers.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2014, 2:41 GMT

    Go Windies, go Windies, go, go go Can Gayle beat Cory Anderson's record of quickest 100 tomorrow...

  • POSTED BY electric_loco_WAP4 on | March 23, 2014, 1:26 GMT

    Not rotating strike wont be a factor-problem-against weak Ind attack.Why bother? Boundries-4s/6s-will be on offer every other ball.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | March 23, 2014, 1:18 GMT

    West Indies are very dangerous team and if they stay kook they will be able to defend their championship I am expecting main challenge from Sri Lanka who has good balance team

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2014, 23:36 GMT

    I think the best way to counter Sunil Narine is, not to attack him too much, just play him normally by rotating strike, and take chances against other bowlers.... As Virat & Raina did against Pakistan, they didn't attack against Ajmal.... Played big shots against other bowlers.....Bhuvi has got Gayle out few times in International matches.... Ashwin has also got him out in IPL a lot of times..... So Bhuvi & Ashwin can be tried to bowl against Gayle....considering their good record against Gayle.

  • POSTED BY kochumvk on | March 22, 2014, 19:27 GMT

    Sir Muhammad Tariqul Islam, You are correct. I mean for a hater. Or you started following cricket today. Either way laughable stuff.

    Not saying that India is better than west indies in this department. I have all the respect for WI. They are cool guys with great ability.

    Cricinfo is possibly the best archive. You are at right place.no worries, take your time and learn things. If it's pure hatred, nobody can help.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2014, 18:45 GMT

    @gsingh7 let india learn first how to hit fours, then comes the subject of hitting sixes. Windies players have that ability proven already.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2014, 18:17 GMT

    Spin might not work with Gayle ..we should go with varoom karoon ..three quicks imp...drop ashwin for a game ...get rahanae for yuvraj

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2014, 18:15 GMT

    WI batsmen are not that good at rotating strike.... Its not a secret that Raina has unfolded.... Its a well known fact, all around the world.... Rotating strike is an important part of Batting.... Batting is not just about hitting Big Sixes, its a lot more than that....They rely too much on just the big shots, sometimes they are able get away with this tactic.... But sometimes they even look a bit foolish on the field because of this unusual way.....He hasn't insulted anyone.... Other teams say so much against India's Bowling.... So what's the big deal if Raina has said something.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2014, 17:48 GMT

    Tomorrow will tell its tale , but for now go West Indies go !

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2014, 17:36 GMT

    It's true WI have far more six hitters than India... but I hope India can pull it off against them tomorrow... For me India starts as the favorites...

    Both India and WI have quality spinners. The result will be how well the batsmen handle spin and the amount of dew that's going to be around tomorrow..!!

    Anyways, all the best for team India..!! hoping they can pull it off......

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2014, 17:19 GMT

    Squad for India - Dhawan, Sharma, Kohli, Raina Dhoni Jadeja, Ashwin, Mishra Bhuvi, Shami Yuvi if he is focussed. If he is distracted the way he was in the last few games, Rahane OR Binny depending on whether Dhoni requires the extra seamer OR wants to use Rohit down the order.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 22, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    India is favorite for this match. india have a very good spin attack after us. we lost to them but I want Asian team in final.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 22, 2014, 16:31 GMT

    As a West Indian I have no doubt in the ability of the current crop of players to deliver BIG on the World stage given the quality of this team. Nonetheless, I would be silly if I don't caution about being over confident. I say this without fear of being contradicted that India doesn't even come close to the batting prowess of this Windies team period. I just want the team to focus on their game and assess the game ball-by-ball as their innings progress. Clearly their will be moments in the game where the indian spin bowlers will be trying to keep things tight as they should. However, I am expecting the team to turn over the strike at regularly and dont allow dot ball pressure to get to them and they end of playing inexplicable shots. My bet is that this will be a competitive game and the team that can produce under pressure should win. Go Windies!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 22, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    T20 format is too short for plan b

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 22, 2014, 15:34 GMT

    Confidence is okey..but, little over confidence will trouble.... WI... the team of so many super heroes which has to move a lot as a team... IND... A great team with minimum super heroes...but, as a team IND will have the chance to beat them... it all depends on Gayle..... I need a Gayle thunder and India's victory..!

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | March 22, 2014, 15:29 GMT

    Sammy is right- WI has quite a few hitters in their XI. But free swinging is not always "Reliable". This is the problem. If you don't have defence, You are an easy prey. Just hitting alone is incomplete batting with huge chunks in your armour. India should focus on this. If India can bowl at spots where WI batsmen cannot hit, then mere frustration will lead to few quick dismissals. Once you lose 5 wkts. cheaply, you are on your back foot. That is the key to Winning for India. Gayle is the only reliable hitter. Others can also belt the ball but soon fall if the bowling in accurate. When a team plays just one way, there is no Plan B. So Plan A has to succeed- its All or Nothing story. I hope Sammy's gauntlet will mean this. India should accept it & focus on their own plan. In any case it looks like it will be "Power Vs. Reliability" in Batting + Narine Vs. 3 pronged spin attack of Indians in Bowling. It will be the superior fielding & catching that will decide the issue. Good Luck Guys!

  • POSTED BY gsingh7 on | March 22, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    india will show windies how to hit sixes and rotate strike. kohli is in unstoppable form and we all know how gayle crumbles in international games.come on india, win tomorrow and make sure u have fair chance to reach semi finals.

  • POSTED BY siddhartha87 on | March 22, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    India will win it easy if Ashwin opens the bowling.

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  • POSTED BY siddhartha87 on | March 22, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    India will win it easy if Ashwin opens the bowling.

  • POSTED BY gsingh7 on | March 22, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    india will show windies how to hit sixes and rotate strike. kohli is in unstoppable form and we all know how gayle crumbles in international games.come on india, win tomorrow and make sure u have fair chance to reach semi finals.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | March 22, 2014, 15:29 GMT

    Sammy is right- WI has quite a few hitters in their XI. But free swinging is not always "Reliable". This is the problem. If you don't have defence, You are an easy prey. Just hitting alone is incomplete batting with huge chunks in your armour. India should focus on this. If India can bowl at spots where WI batsmen cannot hit, then mere frustration will lead to few quick dismissals. Once you lose 5 wkts. cheaply, you are on your back foot. That is the key to Winning for India. Gayle is the only reliable hitter. Others can also belt the ball but soon fall if the bowling in accurate. When a team plays just one way, there is no Plan B. So Plan A has to succeed- its All or Nothing story. I hope Sammy's gauntlet will mean this. India should accept it & focus on their own plan. In any case it looks like it will be "Power Vs. Reliability" in Batting + Narine Vs. 3 pronged spin attack of Indians in Bowling. It will be the superior fielding & catching that will decide the issue. Good Luck Guys!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 22, 2014, 15:34 GMT

    Confidence is okey..but, little over confidence will trouble.... WI... the team of so many super heroes which has to move a lot as a team... IND... A great team with minimum super heroes...but, as a team IND will have the chance to beat them... it all depends on Gayle..... I need a Gayle thunder and India's victory..!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 22, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    T20 format is too short for plan b

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 22, 2014, 16:31 GMT

    As a West Indian I have no doubt in the ability of the current crop of players to deliver BIG on the World stage given the quality of this team. Nonetheless, I would be silly if I don't caution about being over confident. I say this without fear of being contradicted that India doesn't even come close to the batting prowess of this Windies team period. I just want the team to focus on their game and assess the game ball-by-ball as their innings progress. Clearly their will be moments in the game where the indian spin bowlers will be trying to keep things tight as they should. However, I am expecting the team to turn over the strike at regularly and dont allow dot ball pressure to get to them and they end of playing inexplicable shots. My bet is that this will be a competitive game and the team that can produce under pressure should win. Go Windies!

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 22, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    India is favorite for this match. india have a very good spin attack after us. we lost to them but I want Asian team in final.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2014, 17:19 GMT

    Squad for India - Dhawan, Sharma, Kohli, Raina Dhoni Jadeja, Ashwin, Mishra Bhuvi, Shami Yuvi if he is focussed. If he is distracted the way he was in the last few games, Rahane OR Binny depending on whether Dhoni requires the extra seamer OR wants to use Rohit down the order.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2014, 17:36 GMT

    It's true WI have far more six hitters than India... but I hope India can pull it off against them tomorrow... For me India starts as the favorites...

    Both India and WI have quality spinners. The result will be how well the batsmen handle spin and the amount of dew that's going to be around tomorrow..!!

    Anyways, all the best for team India..!! hoping they can pull it off......

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2014, 17:48 GMT

    Tomorrow will tell its tale , but for now go West Indies go !