West Indies bid to put recent turmoil behind them against Pakistan
Last Updated: 22/09/16 12:11pm
West Indies will bid to put their off-field turmoil behind them and underline their status as World Twenty20 champions when they face a buoyant Pakistan in a three-match series starting on Friday.
The Windies have arrived in the United Arab Emirates after sacking coach Phil Simmons and without all-rounder Andre Russell, who faces a hearing into claims from the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission that he missed three drugs tests in a 12-month period, an offence which could trigger a two-year ban according to the WADA code.
With Chris Gayle also absent, Carlos Brathwaite, who stunned England when he smashed Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes to clinch the West Indies' second World T20 title in April, will captain the side while towering former fast bowler Joel Garner replaces Simmons as coach.
Brathwaite hopes his team will show their huge talent in the humid conditions in the United Arab Emirates, where they also trained ahead of the World Twenty20 in India.
"It wasn't as hot early in the year, but, apparently, we're in the middle of their summer, so it can get very, very hot," he said.
"It's for the players to prepare well, manage themselves well off the field, rehydration-wise, get enough rest, and each and every one of us is a professional, and evidently performing well when the games come."
Brathwaite's uncapped players - including wicketkeeper-batsman Nicholas Pooran, all-rounder Rovman Powell and fast bowler Kesrick Williams - will also want to fire against a dangerous Pakistan side.
Pakistan are in good form, smashing hosts England by nine wickets in the only Twenty20 game of their tour in what was Sarfraz Ahmed's first match as skipper.
Ahmed, who replaced Shahid Afridi following Pakistan's first-round exit in the World Twenty20, hopes his team won't be overawed by the champions.
"We didn't think England were World Twenty20 finalists when we beat them at Manchester," said Ahmed. "We will do the same here, go out and play hard because the team which plays well on the ground wins a T20 match."
"Even without Gayle and Russell, West Indies is strong and a T20 match is not won with big names only."
Fast bowler Mohammad Amir joined the squad after his wedding on Tuesday and will spearhead the attack, while opener Mohammad Hafeez and paceman Mohammad Irfan are out through injury.
Middle-order batsman Umar Akmal will be in focus after being recalled following his axing on the England tour over disciplinary issues. Umar smashed a fiery century in a national Twenty20 event to force his comeback.