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Ramnaresh Sarwan hopes home advantage will give West Indies the edge in the ICC World Twenty20 beginning on Friday. West Indies have yet to win a multi-team competition since 2004, when they won the Champions Trophy in England, and after six tumultuous years Sarwan said the team needed its supporters to back them to the hilt.
"We have a very good chance of winning this competition. We are at home and that gives us an advantage," said Sarwan, a veteran of that 2004 success. "What is important is that we play as a team and try and support each other as much as we can, whether it's in the field or when we are batting or bowling. That is something we hope to do and we hope we can do it on a consistent basis."
Sarwan, who is on the comeback trail from injury, felt the Caribbean fans had a big role to play. "There will certainly not be a problem getting support from our fans," he said. "I think over the years, although we have not been at our best, the fans have been very supportive and I think they know that we need their support now."
The hosts have been grouped with Ireland and England during the initial phase of the World Twenty20. In the inaugural tournament in 2007 they suffered a humiliating loss to Bangladesh and exited in the first round and in 2009 they lost in the semis to Sri Lanka. Clyde Butts, the president of the West Indies selectors, was optimistic about the team's chances this year.
"We have Chris Gayle at the top of the order and he can be a match-winner. It is also good to have our experienced players in the middle-order - Shiv Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan - and this gives us strength in the batting," he said. "Wavell Hinds has been recalled and he brings a wealth of experience. Dwayne Bravo is one of the leading allrounders in world cricket and he is the key man with bat and ball.
"We are happy to have Jerome Taylor back in the bowling department and this is a big plus. I also believe Sulieman Benn will play a major role with the ball."