T20 cricket and the West Indies go hand in hand. It’s a format that the Caribbean Islanders have really made their own. They’ve won two of the last three T20 World Cups and the likes of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo have some incredible T20 records.
Their golden generation might be in its twilight phase. But here’s how they are gearing up for another big flourish at the T20 World Cup 2021:
Matches galore leading up to the World Cup
When the mega event arrives in October, West Indies will have played as many as 15 T20Is this season, all against high-quality opponents. 5 matches each against South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan gives captain Pollard the perfect opportunity to find the ideal balance for the World Cup in the UAE.
We know, they’re playing all those matches in home conditions. However, pitches in the Caribbean are not tailor-made to West Indies strength – their batting. Slow and two-paced wickets do not allow their famous power-hitters to get going like they usually do.
So while they’re playing at home, they’re not quite comfortable. We saw this in the first of those three series, against South Africa.
What can West Indies take away from the series defeat to SA?
The start to the Windies T20 WC build-up was not great. That doesn’t mean that they had nothing to be happy about through the 5-match series against South Africa.
Losing the series to the Proteas counts as an upset for the Windies because of the depth in their squad. However, every T20I played now is a chance for a squad with such depth and options to test what’s working and what’s not. The Windies did just that.
Let’s talk about their batting first – Evin Lewis was in superb touch with 178 runs in the series that included 13 sixes. Skipper Pollard played a match-winning 25-ball 51 in the 4th T20I. Lendl Simmons and Andre Fletcher did fairly well in the matches they got. Andre Russell and Fabian Allen also showed glimpses of good form.
Gayle, Pooran, and Hetmyer had a tough time, but we all know what they can do on their day!
When it comes to their bowling – DJ Bravo led the wicket charts with 10 in 5 matches. Youngster Obed McCoy made a big mark with 9 wickets at a decent economy rate of 7.
They’re still coming together as a bowling unit. However, with the likes of Holder, Russell, Bravo, Edwards, and Allen along with the young bowlers, there’s a lot to be excited about.
West Indies made a strong comeback in the T20I series vs Australia, beating them 4-1. They showed glimpses of the West Indies we know, hinting that they’re finding their feet and many players shot back into form.
With 5 more T20Is coming up vs Pakistan, it’s a great chance to set the perfect combination. But there’s still more for the West Indies.
IPL 2021 in the UAE
To make things more interesting, the World Cup build-up this time includes the IPL. The remainder of IPL 2021 is to be played in the UAE itself just before the World Cup. Most of the venues will also be the same for both events.
We know what you’re thinking – Players from most of the top teams have that advantage. But no team (except India) has as many players in the IPL as the T20 World Champs, who have 9 players in the big league.
We also know that all of this is easier said than done. However, if there’s one T20 team for whom it isn’t, it’s the West Indies!
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