Putting the ODI series drubbing behind them, a different-look West Indies T20 outfit are expecting bigger and better things
Windies expect to ‘compete and win’ with experienced T20 outfit
West Indies white-ball coach Darren Sammy is adamant his side has moved on from their ODI series drubbing as a vastly more experienced squad prepares to face Australia in tonight's Dettol T20I series opener in Hobart.
The Windies were obliterated in 31 overs in the third ODI in Canberra three nights ago as the hosts completed a three-nil series sweep by rolling the tourists for 86 and chasing down the target in 6.5 overs.
While disappointed in not performing to their brand of cricket during the three ODIs, Sammy said post-match the series would "stay right here" in the nation's capital.
"You see, I'm already in Hobart," Sammy joked after initially saying the wrong city, before adding: "We're not going to carry the ODI series to Hobart.
"It's a fresh squad, a settled squad, more experience (and) guys who believe they are some of the best in the world to do it.
"I expect to see a different attitude, a different brand and we expect to come out there and compete and win."
The two-time T20 world champions have more than 550 games of international experience in the shortest format in their squad for the three-match series at Bellerive Oval (tonight), Adelaide Oval (Sunday) and Perth Stadium (Tuesday) as they ramp up preparations for a home World Cup in June.
Andre Russell is among the biggest names in the squad, with Sammy putting his side through a fiery and competitive training session on match eve at Bellerive Oval.
Russell returned to the West Indies side in their previous series against England in December after a two-year hiatus since their last T20 international, which was against Australia at the 2021 World Cup in the UAE.
The 35-year-old hard-hitting allrounder marked his return to international cricket for the first time since that match with 3-19 and 29 not out off 14 balls in a player of the match performance in the first T20 against England.
He followed it up with 51 in the fourth match in Tarouba, collecting seven wickets in the five matches as the West Indies claimed the series 3-2, their third series win on the bounce after beating India 3-2 last August and South Africa 2-1 last March.
Russell, Akeal Hosein, Jason Holder and Nicholas Pooran are among the fresh faces in the Windies T20 squad who were not part of the ODI series but boast plenty of experience in Australia having played in the Big Bash previously.
Those four, along with the squad's other fresh inclusions – skipper Rovman Powell, Johnson Charles and Sherfane Rutherford – had stints in the UAE's ILT20 league prior to arriving in Australia, while Brandon King has been playing in Bangladesh and Kyle Mayers in South Africa.
The matches against Australia are the Windies’ last fixtured T20 series before hosting the World Cup, but they also have three-match series against South Africa in May earmarked in the Future Tours Programme yet to be scheduled, and Sammy is hopeful of securing another series against India prior to the tournament.
"Our guys will not be playing international cricket, but they will not be short of cricket," Sammy said.
"So many leagues, (they) play in the IPL (Indian Premier League), the PSL (Pakistan Super League), and obviously playing (the World Cup) at home, it's our conditions.
"The way we've progressed over the last year; we didn't lose a T20 series in 2023, confidence is building, momentum is building.
"We all believe that we can become the first team to actually win the tournament at home and that's what we are working towards."
Men's Dettol T20I Series v West Indies
February 9: Blundstone Arena, Hobart 7.00pm AEDT
February 11: Adelaide Oval, 7pm AEDT
February 13: Perth Stadium, 7pm AEDT
Australia T20I squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Sean Abbott, Jason Behrendorff, Tim David, Aaron Hardie, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
West Indies T20I squad: Rovman Powell (c), Shai Hope, Johnson Charles, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas