Bowlers with ‘X-factor’ will hold key in T20 World Cup, says Daren Sammy – Sport

NEW DELHI: With T20 cricket becoming increasingly more batter-dominated, bowlers with the ‘X-factor’ could make all the difference in the World Cup in June, West Indies head coach Daren Sammy told Reuters.

The batting bias of cricket’s shortest format is evident in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), where 200-plus scores have become a routine and 300 does not look impossible anymore.

Sammy, who captained West Indies to both their T20 World Cup titles, expected the batting carnage to continue in the June showpiece.

“Bowlers have been under the pump,” the former all-rounder said in a telephone interview from his T20 World Cup trophy tour in Saint Lucia. “It’s not just the young bowlers, every single international bowler has been under pressure.

“Look at the IPL right now. Teams are scoring 200 and it’s not a safe total. It tells you that the batsmen are really dominating T20 cricket now.” While teams would pack their squads with power-hitters,

Sammy reckoned bowlers with unconventional skills or action could prove crucial in the June 1-29 tournament.

“The difference will be some X-factor bowlers,” the 40-year-old said. “Whether that’s pace, whether that’s mystery spin – you’d need that in your armoury in order to defend totals or restrict opponents.”

The other way to silence the blazing bats would be with raw pace, he said. “Pace is pace,” Sammy said citing the importance of Lasith Malinga in Sri Lanka’s victory in the 2014 T20 World Cup, and the roles Fidel Edwards, Jerome Taylor and Ravi Rampaul played under his captaincy.

“Whether the wicket is spin-friendly or seam-friendly, genuine pace will always create doubts in the batsman’s mind. “To have that in your armoury is always a plus,” Sammy added.

From a batting point of view, Sammy said the current West Indies team were comparable to the sides that won the World Cups under his captaincy. Their bowling, however, would depend a lot on how their all-rounders contribute.

“Obviously I’d love to have the ‘X-factor’ that I had in 2012 and 2016, when I had two bowlers ranked among the top five. We don’t have that now.

“What we do have is Akeal Hosein, who’s ranked number three. We also have (Gudakesh) Motie, who’s very effective in the middle overs,” he said of his spin attack. “We have guys like (pacer) Alzarri Joseph and the all-rounders that we had in 2016 as well, who could use the conditions to our advantage.”

West Indies captain Rovman Powell recently said they were trying to talk veteran spinner Sunil Narine, also an explosive opener, out of retirement.

Sammy, who recalled senior players including Andre Russell and Shimron Hetmyer since taking charge, was not sure about Narine’s availability. “You’ve seen experienced guys coming back into the squad. I had the same conversation with Narine,” he said. “We still continue to chat, but at the end of the day, if he is retired, he’s not available for selection.”

West Indies will co-host the tournament with the United States.

Published in Dawn, April 23nd, 2024

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