Powell: Winning the World Cup will give ‘massive boost’ financially for West Indies

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West Indies are one of two teams, England the other, to have won the men’s T20 World Cup twice, and being co-hosts, expectations for a record third title are high in the Caribbean for the latest edition. Rovman Powell, their captain, is aware of it, and is hoping to feed off that optimism because, as he says, winning the World Cup will mean more to cricket in the region that just one more trophy.

“It’s very special, to be honest, not just for me but for the other players and for the people of the Caribbean – the possibility of winning a third World Cup title in front of our own people in the Caribbean is something very, very special,” he said at a press interaction ahead of West Indies’ tournament opener, against Papua New Guinea in Providence.

West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell

“For us as players, it’s a legacy. It’s something that after we finish playing, we can sit down and tell our kids and grandkids, our family, and just replay those memories of 2024.

“Also, from a financial standpoint, we know the standard of West Indies cricket, and it would be a massive boost for us to win the World Cup. So all that money that comes with winning the World Cup can be filtered down into our youth programme and to help benefit West Indies cricket.”

It’s a thought Powell visited time and again during the conference. For example, when discussing the fact that West Indies have just risen two spots on the ICC T20I team rankings to No. 4 after beating South Africa 3-0 at home (in a series where both teams were missing first-choice players), Powell stressed on the importance of results like that to help the future of the game in the country.

“It’s very, very good for the West Indies to be ranked No. 4 in the world,” he said. “When I started as captain, we were around eight or nine. I made an honest reflection and I realised that we haven’t won enough series. So when I took over as captain, that was one of my first mandates – to try our best to start winning series.

“And once we start winning series, then our ranking will become much better in the ICC table. And then, from a financial standpoint, more sponsors for West Indian cricket. Because sponsors love to associate themselves with winners. That’s something I am proud of, to see under my captaincy West Indies has improved significantly in the ranking.”

Powell was named West Indies T20I captain in February 2023, and in 16 games in charge, he has led West Indies to ten wins. Not the three against South Africa, though.

He was away at IPL 2024 at the time, representing Rajasthan Royals, and Roston Chase filled in for him. The big ones under his leadership – the series wins he mentioned – were in December 2023 when West Indies beat England 3-2 at home and, earlier, when they beat India 3-2 in a series played across the Caribbean and the USA in August 2023.

Home conditions do seem to bring out the best in Powell’s boys in T20I cricket, but it can be double-edged at times.

“When you are playing in front of your own crowd, it can be good and it can be bad. We are trying to look at the positive side and hope the fans will come out anticipating and hoping that we will play good cricket and entertain them,” Powell said.

“If you go over the duration of the last 12 months or so, we have played some good cricket right across the world. It’s a team that has confidence, it’s a team that knows how to play T20 cricket. So hopefully during the duration of this World Cup, we can show that.”

Sammy as coach ‘should provide us with additional resources’

When West Indies won the T20 World Cup in 2012 and 2016, Daren Sammy was their captain, and Andre Russell was in the ranks as a player. Sammy has been the coach of the West Indies white-ball sides since May 2023, just over a year now, while Russell has over the years become one of the most powerful T20 allrounders in the world.

That’s two men who know what it takes to win a T20 World Cup for Powell to lean on. And that’s something that gives him extra confidence.

“Having Daren Sammy as our coach – two-time World Cup winner for the West Indies – that should provide us with additional resources that we need when things get tight, because he has been in that position before,” Powell said. “Hopefully his experience and knowledge can spread across the group and be very fruitful for us in this World Cup.”

As for Russell, fresh from an IPL title-winning run with Kolkata Knight Riders, Powell said that there was no question he would slot right into the XI even though he hasn’t always been available for West Indies over the years – since the start of 2023, he has played just eight T20Is, spread over two series, against England at home in December 2023 and away against Australia in February 2024.

“If Andre Russell rocks up for any international team, he would definitely slot in within the team,” Powell said. “So that is no surprise to see Andre automatically slot in to our team. He comes with a wealth of experience, and he comes with additional confidence on the back of good performances in the IPL.

“So we are looking forward to Andre Russell being a significant part of our World Cup and hopefully we can be a three-time World Cup champion after this one.” (ESPNcricinfo)

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