Birmingham: All-rounder Darren Sammy says the West Indies are genuine contenders to win the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy which features the eight top ODI teams in the world. Sammy, the former ODI captain, was speaking as the Caribbean side prepared to put up a better showing in their second warm-up match Tuesday against Sri Lanka, reports CMC.
The Windies lost to Australia by four wickets last Saturday at Swalec Stadium in Wales, but have remained confident they will do well against Sri Lanka at Edgbaston. "ODI cricket is an area where we have not done as well as we should. When you look at the calibre of the players we have in the dressing room, we should be playing better," said Sammy.
"Hopefully, in this tournament we will come out and play the brand of cricket which helped us to win in Sri Lanka last year." The Windies have been drawn in Group B alongside India, Pakistan and South Africa. The West Indies had a week-long camp in Cardiff before they travelled to Birmingham.
They will open their campaign against Pakistan Friday at the Oval and return to the famous venue Tuesday, June 11 to take on India. The final preliminary match will be against the Proteas Friday, June 14 in Cardiff. "All the teams are our main rivals," said Sammy.
"Whoever plays the better cricket over a longer period of time will win this tournament, so we will have to be at our best, we will have to be consistent and we will have to take it one day at a time." Sammy was a member of the West Indies team when they won the ICC Champions Trophy back in 2004, beating England by two wickets at the Oval.
Caribbean fans had to wait eight years for their team's next international tournament triumph. Sammy was at the helm when the Windies beat Sri Lanka at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Coombo to win the ICC World T20 Championship.
"In order to do that, we will have to do what we did in the World T20, which is play with heart and play for the Caribbean people," said the test and T20 captain. "It will require all of us playing together towards one common goal which is to win that trophy."