Former Indian stars pick West Indies as favourites

| September 21, 2012

Staff Writer – Archi

It will be after a long time that West Indies will begin their campaign in a tournament with the ‘favourites’ tag written firmly on the players’ kits. During the 80s, under the legendary Clive Llyod, West Indies used to be the invincible force of world cricket.

But after the retirement of all the legends of the game like Vivan Richards, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Gordon Greenidge and of course Lloyd himself, West Indies cricket experienced a free fall.

So it is a welcome change when the whole world will again be looking after the progress of West Indies matches in World T20 which kicked off in Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

Even in India, who will be looking to clinch the T20 world title after winning the 50-over version last time, experts and pundits no less than Sunil Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly have pitted West Indies as favourites for this edition of World T20.

Talking about his favourites, Ganguly recently said: “I don’t like the word ‘favourites’ too much, but the West Indies look the strongest. It’s a very good team… Of course, I wouldn’t rule out India either,” he said.

“The West Indies are a powerhouse. They are very dangerous in the shortest format with the presence of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Dwayne Smith and they have pacers who bowl at 150 kph-plus. In addition, they have a very talented spinner in Sunil Narine,” he said.

The former left-hand opener also pointed out Chis Gayle as one of the players to look out for in this T20 WC. “He has an awesome T20 record and is such a massive striker of the ball,” Ganguly commented.

Even Gavaskar was in awe of Gayle. “West Indies will be the team to look out for since they have a handful of hitters. And if Gayle and Pollard get going it will be difficult to stop them,” he wrote in his column.

Ganguly too cautioned all about Pollard. “Like Gayle, he (Pollard) is a massive striker of the ball… An asset for any team in T20,” he said.

Ganguly felt Sunil Naraine too can play an important role in this T20 WC. “He’ll be more than a handful in the subcontinent. Like Malinga (of Sri Lanka), has enough variations… If you look at the last IPL, he’s got a terrific T20 record,” he said.

Another former India player Sanjay Manjrekar echoed Ganguly’s views.

Sanjay Manjrekar. Photo courtesy

“As Sourav said, the West Indies look a formidable unit. They have a good chance of winning the competition,” he said.

The main advantage for West Indies could be that a handful of their players like Gayle, Pollard, Naraine have played T20 matches in the domestic leagues of countries in the subcontinent. Hence they have a pretty good idea about the conditions and wickets there and know exactly how to succeed there.

It now remains to be seen how far the Caribbeans can live up to this expectation.

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Category: Sports, WICB

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