Unfancied Windies out to win back respect

Darren Sammy (AFP)
Darren Sammy (AFP)

Mumbai - West Indies's tumultuous build-up to the World Twenty20 has knit the players together and they will have no better stage than Thursday's semi-final against India to express themselves, captain Darren Sammy said on Wednesday.

India, the world's top-ranked side in the format, came into the sixth edition of the tournament having won 10 out of their 11 matches in 2016 and were considered overwhelming favourites by fans, opposing captains and bookmakers alike.

West Indies, the 2012 champions, on the other hand were busy sorting out a contractual dispute with their board just weeks ahead of the start and did not play a single international Twenty20 before arriving in India.

"The issues before the tournament, the lack of respect for our T20 team... a lot has been said about this team and we as a group that brought us closer together," Sammy told reporters on the eve of the match.

"We saw a lot was against us... we think it's us against the world. It's only us in our own little circle and that's the way we have gone out and played. Tomorrow is no bigger day to express that."

A number of West Indies players are in their 30s and play only the shortest format of the game and, with the next World Twenty20 scheduled in four years' time in Australia, the current campaign could be the swansong for a few of them.

Sammy felt it had made the players more focussed.

"Looking at the calendar year after this World Cup, I don't see any T20 internationals scheduled," said the ever-smiling Sammy. "It might be a while and the next T20 World Cup is in four years.

"We really put in our all in this tournament and the guys in the dressing room are aware of what's at stake.

"The guys who predict the results and stuff I think say it's 80:20 in favour of India. So it feels like David versus Goliath but people tend to forget David won the fight."

West Indies' top-order batting has shouldered the burden of chasing down targets in their first three matches, which has been very pleasing for Sammy.

"The key word was responsibility. It is one of the main words we use in the dressing room. Someone taking the responsibility to bring the team home, not leave it for anyone," the 32-year-old said.

"We've not played the perfect game. We're stressing on rotation of strike and stuff. It's clear we're a big boundary-hitting team and we look at the dot ball percentage (which) is 40-50 percent for us. Maybe we could improve on that."

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