Confident West Indies arrive for Tri-Nation Series
By Avenash Ramzan
West Indies Head Coach Phil Simmons has expressed confidence in his team’s chances in the 50-over Tri-Nation Series, which is set to bowl off in Guyana on Friday. The West Indies will come up against Australia and South Africa during the June 3-26 tournament, with matches also slated for St Kitts and Nevis and Barbados.
Speaking to media operatives on Monday afternoon, minutes after the team landed at the Eugene F. Correia International Airport at Ogle, Simmons said the aim is quite simple- that is to win the tournament.
“Any tournament you go into, the first aspect about it is winning, and that’s how I play the game- to win every time. So we will be looking at the best way, we as a team, can win the tournament,” Simmons remarked.
The Trinidad and Tobago national was not at all too concerned by back-to-back defeats in two warm-up games last week, as according to him, they provided a great opportunity for the players to gain on-field preparation heading into the series.
“We played two warm-up games [and] we had five players missing. So I not too worried about that; it was good practice for the guys. We had a camp where the guys worked hard so that’s the important thing coming into this series,” Simmons explained.
On hand to receive the players and management team were officials of Digicel, the official sponsor of West Indies Cricket, president of the Guyana Cricket Board Drubahadur and Director of Sport Christopher Jones.
Drubahadur, was enthused about the return of international cricket to Guyana, after a relatively lengthy break. Guyana last hosted international cricket in July 2013.
“Preparations are going very well,” he said. “As you know, this is history for Guyana in two ways. One, this is the first time we’re having a Tri-Series and secondly, these are all day/night matches.”
Drubahadur further stated that the Stadium is in “immaculate condition”, while all security arrangements are in motion following the teams’ arrival and stay in Guyana.
Jones said the hosting of the Tri-Nation Series is another perfect opportunity to showcase Guyana, especially during this historic year when the country is celebrating 50 years of Independence.
“It’s game on, and any person within the region and especially those in Guyana from the diaspora here for the Jubilee celebrations, this is an additional treat for them,” Jones stated.
The West Indies squad for the first four matches of the series reads: Jason Holder (capt), Sulieman Benn, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Shannon Gabriel, Sunil Narine, Ashley Nurse, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor.
Australia and South Africa are expected in Guyana on Tuesday. All the games in Guyana, slated for June 3, 5 and 7, will be day/night encounters, starting at 13:30h.
(lead photo caption – The West Indies contingent with officials of Digicel, the Guyana Cricket Board and the National Sports Commission upon arrival in Guyana on Monday afternoon – Avenash Ramzan photo)