Home conditions will help Windies: Gayle

Pace legend Wasim Akram says Pakistan and India have edge over their opponents

Home conditions will help Windies: Gayle

Last year in England, the West Indies made it to the semifinals before bowing out. “We had a very good outing in England. In last year’s World T20 we reached the semifinals and I thought we did very well,” Gayle said.

“We started that tournament as outsiders and we managed to play some really good cricket and reach the final four. This time around we are at home where we know these conditions better than anyone else so this will be to our advantage,” he said.  West Indies start their campaign against Ireland on Friday before taking on England, who they defeated last June to reach the semifinals. Gayle, a Jamaican, admitted that home advantage also brings in some pressure. But he said his side was focussed on delivering.
“At the same time that comes with pressure, the expectations from our supporters will be very high. We hope the fans will turn out and support us and we promise them some good performances,” he said.

Gayle, who plays for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL), believed the Twenty20 league in India has helped his team-mates to get ready for the World Twenty20.

“Preparation has been good for the West Indies players. A few of us, including Pollard and Bravo, were involved in the IPL in India while the others were playing in the Jamaica Cricket Festival. We also had the chance to play Ireland, who we play in our first game, a few times in Jamaica so I would say preparation has been good,” he said.

Gayle, however, feels that given the unpredictable nature of the game it is important to get the team selection right.  “Twenty20 cricket is always a challenge since it is never an easy road and very competitive. Any team can win any game because it is so short. Getting our balance right is our priority since we have a very good all-round side,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram said that India and title holders Pakistan will have an edge over other teams in the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup because of their quality spin attacks. “I would say India and Pakistan start off with the advantage as they are good in this form of the game and they also have quality spinners to take advantage of the pitches in the West Indies,” Wasim said.

The former left-arm pacer said despite despite being short on international cricket, Pakistan will be a strong side in the tournament.

“Don’t forget that Pakistani players didn’t feature in the IPL so they are relatively fresh compared to other teams. They have not played much international cricket in recent times, so the players would be very keen to leave their mark on the World Cup,” Wasim stated.

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