Nicholas Pooran backs West Indies to fire despite lack of big stars for T20 World Cup; “It should be a balance between youth and experience”

West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran while speaking to the media at the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup in Australia said that there is no pressure on his team as they start their ICC T20 World Cup campaign in Australia.

One of the most successful teams in T20 World Cup history, the West Indies, champions in 2012 and 2016, will play the first-round matches to qualify for the Super 12 this year. Accordingly, they begin their quest for the T20 World Cup title against Scotland on October 17 in Hobart.

The West Indies have been drawn in Group B alongside Scotland, Ireland, and Zimbabwe, where the West Indies need to finish in the top two to book a Super 12 spot in the 2022 tournament. Pooran said when all 16 captains gathered for a pre-tournament media event on Saturday.

“To be honest, I don’t feel like there’s a lot of pressure… we believe that we are a new group of guys, yes, we are new when it comes to T20 cricket.”

“We start at the bottom.. think we have the toughest way to the World Cup, and the guys understand that.”

However, the West Indies’ build-up over the past two weeks has also been very low, losing 2-0 to Australia ahead of the World Cup. But they beat the UAE by 17 runs in their opening warm-up and then their second game against the Netherlands was washed out by rain.

The skipper further said in the meeting that playing the qualifiers was a blessing in disguise. He spoke further,

“I keep telling them it may be a blessing in disguise for us to start in the qualifiers first. Obviously, everyone knows when you want something you have to work really hard for it.”

“But yes, we want to qualify, and obviously there’s some pressure, as well, but the guys are not thinking about that. We just want to focus on ourselves and try to play the best cricket we can.”

This is the first Men’s T20 World Cup without both Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, and the West Indies are missing some big names. Former skipper Kieron Pollard retired from international cricket early while Andre Russell and Sunil Narine were ignored from the squad. Also, Shimron Hetmyer missed his rescheduled flight.

“So, coming back to us, we don’t have the big names, but we have formed a team here, and that’s been really important. Once the guys play for each other and stay together, it’ll be fine.”

“Obviously, Australia won last year, and they didn’t have too many big names, but they obviously had a team that was proven, and that was enough for them to win the World Cup.”

West Indies will rely on their CPL stars King, Mayers, Powell, McCoy, Hosein, and Brooks despite the absence of seniors. However, West Indies have not played a T20I against Scotland before and Pooran is concerned about that.

“Yeah, it [winning the title] would definitely be something special. Obviously, this group here, it’s a new group, with new faces, a lot of younger players on the team. For us to obviously win this World Cup, it would be our biggest achievement as individuals.”

“We are underdogs in this tournament [even though] we have won the tournament twice, and a lot of people, a lot of media you see, a lot of people don’t think we can even qualify, as well. So, it will mean a lot for us. We spoke about sticking this time together. Whether we win or lose we’re going to stick together as a group, so winning this tournament, yeah, obviously we need to work really hard, but it would mean the world to us.”

“Yeah, it [Scotland] will be a challenge. But our guys are confident. We’ve been here for over two weeks now. I think the guys are ready to go and acclimatizing to these conditions. A lot of these guys haven’t played in Australia. This will be the first time, but the guys are confident, they’re happy. The preparation has been really good, and we just can’t wait for tomorrow to start our game.”

All-rounder Yannic Cariah also suffered a minor contusion when the ball hit his hand while batting in the match against UAE. When asked about the potential combination of the team, he said:

“Yeah, we obviously have to select the team still. It’s quite early here in Australia. We haven’t sat down and discussed who’s playing tomorrow. The makeup of the team obviously varies due to the conditions here obviously, here in Hobart which has been cold for a while now, we have to go back and look at it.”

The West Indies open against Scotland at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Monday, followed by another match against Zimbabwe on Wednesday. They finish with a clash against Ireland on Friday.

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