Windies' title defence on home turf gives ICC Women's World Twenty20 extra spice, says Daren Sammy
'Windies fans are like nowhere else in the world; in the Caribbean it actually is a party'
By Holly Gillett
Last Updated: 08/11/18 5:42am
The excitement that emanates from former West Indies captain and St Lucian legend Daren Sammy about the upcoming Women's World T20 is palpable.
The 34-year-old has thrown everything into his role as ambassador for the event, which kicks off in Guyana on Friday, with his social media channels saturated and his face all over his home island.
This particular edition of the tournament is historic in a number of ways; it's the first time it's been staged away from the men's with the competitions usually running in tandem and it will also be the debut of DRS in a World T20.
But for Sammy, it's what the West Indies is going to do with the spectacle that will make it bigger and better than ever and he's hopeful the crowds will pile in.
"Playing in the Caribbean where the team from the Caribbean are defending champions, I think it adds a little bit of spice. Our fans are like nowhere else in the world; in the Caribbean it actually is a party."
The big-hitting all rounder has full faith in his compatriots to reward their fans for the support too as they seek to defend the title they won alongside the men in 2016, courtesy of an exceptional run chase against Australia.
"When I talk about the defending champions, I talk about it so confidently because I know they're capable of coming and playing at home and defending the title," he says.
"There will be pressure, whether they play here or overseas, as defending champions the crowd expect you to do well but I think beating Australia, chasing the highest total in a final for the first time did a lot for them.
"Before I remember going to play a semi-final in World Cups, where they played before us, and all the girls are crying, they've never made it to the finals, Australia normally stop them.
"To actually win by beating Australia, it gave them so much confidence and the junior players then like Hayley Matthews have gained so much experience, they know how to win a World Cup and that does you a whole lot of good."
England will hope they can draw on their own triumph when they face the hosts in the group stage, with Heather Knight's side aiming to replicate 2009's double after their World Cup victory last year.
They begin their competition against Sri Lanka on Saturday, before facing Bangladesh, South Africa and the hosts as they seek to end their World T20 hoodoo which has seen them fall at the final hurdle in two of the last three editions.
Watch every match from the ICC Women's World T20 live on Sky Sports with New Zealand taking on India in the opening game from 2.30pm on Friday.