ICC World Twenty20: Team guide - West Indies
West Indies are finally showing signs of form ahead of the defence of their World Twenty20 title.
Last Updated: 17/03/14 11:58am
Two years must seem a lifetime away for the West Indians when their explosive men at the crease were smashing balls for fun on their way to T20 glory in the final against their Sri Lankan hosts.
Since that balmy night in Colombo, they have lost six of the 12 T20 internationals and up until England's recent visit, they had suffered defeat in five of their previous six within the last year, including a six-wicket demolition by Ireland in Kingston last month.
They also boast the lowest average number of runs per over at 7.3 and the smallest amount of runs per wicket (22). Poor stats make no mistake and the thought of facing India and Sri Lanka, along with hosts Bangladesh and England, will not be too relishing a prospect.
However, the words coming out of the West Indian camp have been increasingly buoyant, particularly on the back of some recent fireworks against the touring English coming, not from the blade, but the ball.
Skipper Darren Sammy would have been having nightmares concerning his team's hopes, but he'll be sleeping a little easier thanks to the efforts of Marlon Samuels (bat and ball) and Samuel Badree.
Samuels was the star destroyer of England in their opening T20 win in Barbados with an unbeaten 69 off 46 and he picked up 2-21, while Trinidadian leg spinner Badree snared three wickets on his 33rd birthday.
Samuels has labelled Badree as their "trump card" to boost their chances of becoming the first team to defend a World T20 title, while Samuels will be delighted with his form and fitness following his wrist injury which forced him home from the New Zealand tour and his recent groin problem.
West Indies fans may well be conducting a vigorous recovery dance in honour of the Jamaican right-hander, with their middle order already looking a little fragile without the powerful Keiron Pollard who damaged a knee in a charity football match.
Although many see their spin bowling attack as key, keep an eye out for paceman Sheldon Cottrell, a surprise inclusion in the World T20 squad, who may receive his first limited-overs cap against England before the trip to Bangladesh.
With no place again in the team for experienced fast bowler Tino Best, without an international appearance since January, they will be hoping old boys Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Ravi Rampaul and Denesh Ramdin all raise their game and inspire their youngsters.
A massive boost is fit-again Gayle returning at the top of the order. There is no greater sight in the short format than the former Test captain swishing and swiping at the crease.
It won't be an easy task, but there is more to this team than just bludgeoning the ball to the boundary and if their spinners click then rule them out at your peril.
Squad: Darren Sammy (capt), Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Krishmar Santokie, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.