MIRPUR: West Indies captain Darren Sammy wasn't amused when he heard that Suresh Raina has dubbed his batsmen as "six hitters" and dared the Indian bowlers to stop them from hitting the maximums when they clash in the World T20 here tomorrow.
"We don't care much about what Raina thinks. If he thinks we are only six hitters, then stop us from hitting sixes," Sammy replied when asked about his batsmen inability to rotate strike against spinners.
As usual, the affable West Indies skipper seemed to be in good mood as he answered the questions with a bit of fun and a lot of seriousness.
What's there on Chris Gayle's mind, asked a scribe. "I am not Jesus Christ! I don't know what's going on in his mind," he laughed and replied.
Then he got serious. "But I know he (Gayle) is really pumped up to play here. Whenever he is playing for the West Indies, he is very pumped up. And tomorrow's game everyone will be pumped up."
Will India be easy opponents, was what he was asked first up at the media conference.
"You seriously ask that question? No, I don't think any team is an easy opponent. India started off on a winning note and most likely they will have a lot of confidence going into the game. We know what we are capable of doing and we have been playing some good T20 cricket and the guys are confident that we would come good once we play to our full potential."
West Indies have some world beaters in the shortest format and that gives the captain of the defending champions side to remain confident about team's chances.
"We have top T20 players who have played around the world. We have Gayle, Narine, Bravos all of them have a lot of experience playing T20. With the two openers, we have guys who can give us great impetus in the first six overs. Then we have Marlon, Bravo and myself to finish the innings," Sammy said.
"If you look at our bowling unit, we have Narine, who is to me the No 1 bowler in this format. Badree, Bravo, and we have a young guy called Krishmar Santokie, who could have a great impact in this tournament. So we are happy with the balance of our side. And yes we are a very good team especially in this format," Sammy said.
Left-arm seamer Santokie is an unknown commodity in the sub-continent but it seemed the skipper had a lot of faith in his abilities.
"He is the leading T20 bowler in the Caribbean and has taken a lot of wickets in the Caribbean T20 league. Most of his wickets are clean bowled and leg before wicket. He has a lot of variation, not quick but you will see. You have to see him to know exactly what I mean when he gets his opportunity," Sammy kept cards close to his chest.
Sammy said that captain or not, he has always been proud of representing the West Indies.
"Whether I am captain or not, I have always enjoyed playing cricket for West Indies. I have dreamt of doing that as a boy and whether I lead the team or not I always do what I can to help the team," Sammy answered when asked if giving up ODI captaincy has been of any help or not.
He believes that leggie Samuel Badree could be a factor as spin will be the key in this World T20.
"Spin has been a big part in T20 cricket and not just in Bangladesh. So Badree could have a big impact. But we have not decided on the line-up but most likely Badree will be playing tomorrow," Sammy said.
Marlon Samuels had played a blinder winning the final against Sri Lanka in the last edition almost single-handedly but Sammy insisted that the team is not dependant on one player.
"The good thing about our team is that we don't rely on any one player. We have at least six potential match-winners in our side. In the shortest format, the bulk of the run will come from the top four or five batsmen and I think we are very strong at the top of the order with Marlon, Simmons, me and Bravo. So we are not looking at any one person but as a team."
Sammy admitted that there will always be pressure as defending champions and that's the reason, a few key players need to perform consistently.
"There will always be pressure. We are the defending champions. This time our players are a lot more experienced. Last time, our key players had a brilliant tournament. And the key was, even though someone did not perform in a match we stuck together as a team. I think this time its even more important that we have our key guys perform consistently," Sammy said.
"As a team we now have more belief that we could come out there and defend the trophy. We have to focus on each game, and tomorrow all our focus is on India. After we do that, we again sit together and look at the roadmap to the title and come up with a plan for the next match. But tomorrow is all about India and what we could do to overcome them."
"Cricket," Sammy said is a "game of shifting confidence." "You can know your opponent from the last time you have played but may he has gone back and worked on his game. To me, it's about going out there and using the conditions right rather than looking at the other's game.
"In this time and age, they have footages everywhere. You can see the last match played by any cricketer and come up with a formula you think might work.
"But we have a general idea of what their side is and what they are capable of. Tomorrow's match will be keenly contested, a match we will want to come out victorious. It will be good to start a big tournament on a winning note," he signed off.