T20 WC, Windies desperate for home comforts

West Indies believe they owe it to their long-suffering fans to win the World Twenty20 and end a six-year wait for meaningful international silverware.
Not since 2004, when they lifted the Champions Trophy, have the Caribbean side, once the undisputed rulers of the game, had a title to celebrate.
The years since have been marked by chronic under-achievement, punctuated
by cash-fuelled boycotts and ugly political strife.
But veteran batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan, a veteran of the 2004 Champions Trophy set-up, believes home advantage could play a key role in the quickfire, 20-over format which starts on Friday.
“We have a very good chance of winning this competition. We are at home and that gives us an advantage,” said Sarwan, who is feeling his way back into form after a back injury cut short his tour of Australia earlier this year.
“What is important is that we play as a team and try and support each other as much as we can, whether it’s in the field or when we are batting or bowling. That is something we hope to do and we hope we can do it on a consistent basis.” The 29-year-old, with 5,706 Test runs and 4,907 in 152 ODIs, insists the fans will have a key role.
“There will certainly not be a problem getting support from our fans. I think over the years, although we have not been at our best, the fans have been very supportive and I think they know that we need their support now.” West Indies, who will again be skippered by Chris Gayle, have endured an uneasy relationship with the World Twenty20 in its two editions.
In the opening match of the inaugural tournament in South Africa in 2007, Gayle smashed 117 off 57 balls, the first – and only – century to be made in the world finals.
However, they still lost the game to the hosts by eight wickets and were then humiliated by little Bangladesh by six wickets in their second group match and were eliminated from the competition.
Last year in England, they stunned world one-day champions Australia by seven wickets in their opener before to losing to Sri Lanka by 15 runs.
In the Super Eights, wins over England and India followed before a 57-run semi-final defeat to Sri Lanka.
West Indies are in Group D for the April 30-May 16 tournament along with England and Ireland and their hopes have been boosted by the return of Sarwan and pace bowler Jerome Taylor.
“We have Chris Gayle at the top of the order and he can be a match-winner. It is also good to have our experienced players in the middle-order – Shiv Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan – and this gives us strength in the batting,” said Clyde Butts, the president of the West Indies selectors.
“Wavell Hinds has been recalled and he brings a wealth of experience. Dwayne Bravo is one of the leading all-rounders in world cricket and he is the key man with bat and ball. “We are happy to have Jerome Taylor back in the bowling department and this is a big plus. I also believe Sulieman Benn will play a major role with the ball.”
West Indies play their Group D matches at Providence and open against Ireland on April 30 and then face England on May 3.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2010