The West Indies Shouldn’t Be Underestimated in This Year’s T20 World Cup
In the cricketing world, it seems as if the only two nations expected to challenge for the T20 World Cup trophy are India and England. They are the favorites, and rightly so, because India are on home soil and England have made great strides since hitting rock bottom in the 50-over format in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.
But it’s wrong to focus on these two teams as if they are the only sides that have a chance. The West Indies might not be in excellent form, but the T20 World Cup is where they shine and where they stand to put in solid performances. This is why.
The Return of the Old Guard
The internal issues within the West Indies national team have been significant to say the least. Ever since the IPL was formed, there has been a split between the squad, who want to get paid, and the managers, who don’t want to give an inch.
This divide is partly why the national side’s performances on the world stage have flattered to deceive for the past decade. However, there’s been movement now that the likes of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, and Dwayne Bravo are back in the squad. According to reputable cricket sites like Wisden, fast bowler Fidel Edwards was also included in the side to face Sri Lanka last March.
The Windies dominated the series away from home, making it 2-1 with plenty to spare. All the legends mentioned contributed, so much so that the West Indies betting odds moved favorably. For instance, betting sites like Space Casino now have them as 8/1 joint third favorites for the overall tournament. This just goes to show that when the Universe Boss is on form and backed by heavy hitters down the order, anything can happen.
Another feature in the team’s favor is the fact that they are the defending champions. Yes, that doesn’t count for much on their current form because the last T20 World Cup was five years ago. The Windies still need to peak at the right time, or else the likes of England, India, and New Zealand will run away with the competition.
However, with a wealth of experience to fall back on in pressured moments, there’s no doubt that this squad won’t be phased by the big moments. After all, who can forget Carlos Brathwaite smashing Ben Stokes to all parts of the ground to claim the 2016 crown? Ben Stokes can’t if you believe this The Guardian report!
Plus, there is a healthy mixture of young players with nothing to lose. Nicholas Pooran, for example, has shown that he is willing to step up in the key moments and take the game to the opposition. As the defending champions, this mixture of youth and experience makes them serious contenders.
(Almost) Home Turf
No, the pitches in India aren’t home grounds to the West Indian players. The Indians will know them better than any other country as they’ve played on them throughout their lives and careers. Still, the emergence of the IPL means it’s like a second home to the West Indians since they spend so much time playing for their franchises.
Judging by this inews report on the auction, fewer than ten West Indian players were left unsold. Comparatively, lots of English players didn’t make the cut, including Adil Rashid, Alex Hales, and Jason Hoy. At least two of those England internationals will be in the T20 World Cup squad, which means our national side will have an edge seeing as the tournament conditions are familiar to our boys.
We aren’t saying that the West Indies will overcome every opponent put in front of them because it will be a tough ask based on the amount of talent involved in the competition. However, at 8/1 for the outright win, they are more than keenly priced for an experienced squad that is back to full health and understands the wickets.