West Indies head coach Phil Simmons says he is not concerned about the form of his vice-captain Nicholas Pooran as the team prepares to begin the defence of their ICC World T20 title later this month.

The West Indies, the only team to win the T20 title twice – in 2012 and 2016 – has seen their vice-captain struggle for form in the Indian Premier League where he batted in the middle order for the Punjab Kings with little success.

Coming off a fair campaign for the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the 2021 Hero CPL where in 10 innings he scored 263 runs at an average of 32.88 and strike rate of 163.35, Pooran who turned 26 on October 2, has experienced a precipitous dip in form in the IPL.

In 11 innings for the Punjab Kings, Pooran has only managed to score 85 runs at an anaemic average and strike rate of 7.72 and 111.84, respectively, numbers that have even him concerned.

“Definitely not the IPL season I wanted but the opportunity to be tested both mentally and physically was a great experience, one to learn from very fast,” the Trinidadian posted on Instagram this past weekend.

However, Simmons expressed faith in the player’s ability to return to form in time for the world cup in the United Arab Emirates where the West Indies will open their campaign against England on October 23.

“I am not too worried about Nicholas. I think Nicholas has been batting well,” said the head coach during a media session from the UAE on Monday. “In the CPL, he played well, there was a lot of pressure on him there and there is going to be more pressure here but I think he has been working hard enough. He is doing all that he has to do and sometimes it doesn’t come off, but it will come off so I am not worried about him.”

Since the start of the CPL in August, Pooran has had one score of over 50 runs in T20 matches, and that was an unbeaten 75 against the Jamaica Tallawahs on September 10.

 

 

Champions Dwayne Bravo and Chris Gayle and will be looking to make it “seventh heaven” when they turn out in the #MenInMaroon for the marquee ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

The legendary duo has played all six tournaments since its inception in 2007 in South Africa and will want to have maximum impact as we enter the seventh edition in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

They later played in 2009 in England, 2010 at home in the Caribbean, 2012 in Sri Lanka, 2014 in Bangladesh and the last edition in 2016 in India. Gayle is the undisputed king of T20 cricket and the Universe Boss has dominated this format everywhere he has set foot on the planet. Bravo is not far behind with his expert bowling and is a sharp thinker and tactician.

Back in 2012, Gayle adopted The Gangnam style as the unofficial theme song for the team and fans joined the global street party. For Bravo, it was an extra-special moment in time as the epic performance came on the night of his birthday. He had the pleasure of taking the catch to seal the sensational result. To savour the memory, he kept the ball and still has it at home.

“It was my 29th birthday and was a very special moment. It was the first time we won the T20 World Cup and as players, we wanted to prove to the world, we were the best, as individuals and as a team,” Bravo said.

“To do it on my birthday was special and something I could never forget. I still have that ball at home … was a dream come true. A lot of people didn’t give us and chance and picked four teams and didn’t have West Indies among their top four. To win on that night against Sri Lanka on their home turf was a great end to the tournament and we proved ourselves as a team.”

Bravo and Gayle have also had some other great moments in T20 World Cups. None better than at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2016 when West Indies celebrated that famous victory over England with Bravo leading the merriment with his song “Champion”.

Gayle is the only man to hit two centuries in the T20 World Cup. In his very first outing against South Africa back in September 2007, he set ablaze the Wanderers in Johannesburg with a sizzling 117 off just 57 balls. It was just the start kind of start that world cricket needed and set the trend for more of his power-packing pyrotechnic displays.

With a sense of occasion, and with an estimated global viewing audience of over 500 million fixed eyes fixed to the Wankhede Stadium, Gayle set the tone for the tournament. It was magical and memorable as he muscled 11 mammoth sixes and lit up the Mumbai night sky to score 100 not out off just 48 balls.

Bravo recalled the moments.

 “I remember I had a launch event in Mumbai and had my teammates and friends. We had a good start to the tournament, and we formed a great unit. Chris made a hundred and started the dance and everyone was inspired and motivated … it became the anthem, and we did the dance and kept on winning,” the allrounder said.

”We won the final the song was the most played. It was a special moment for West Indian people around the world. Everywhere we went there were celebrations. We want to do it again this time around.”

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