India Favourites In T20I Series: WI Skipper Brathwaite

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Kolkata(IANS): Despite the West Indies being the World T20I champions, captain Carlos Brathwaite on Saturday said India will start as favourites in the three-match series.

“India at home in any format (are) very formidable. Especially with the advent of Indian Premier League (IPL) and the amount of T20 cricket that the Indian superstars play, I think they definitely start as favourites,” Brathwaite said at the pre-match news conference.

India thrashed the Windies 2-0 in Tests and won the ODI series by a 3-1 margin. But the men in blue are yet to win against the tourists in their last four matches.

They lost to the Windies in the World Twenty20 semifinal in 2016 and have a 2-5 record.

“We are not accustomed to the underdog tag but we are going to take it this time around. But it’s not something that we are ashamed of really,” Brathwaite said.

West Indies put up a better show in the ODIs with the Vizag one-dayer resulting in a tie followed by a win in Pune as Brathwaite hoped to pull off a surprise.

“We have a new team, young exciting team and our Caribbean Premier League (CPL) stars are young and are raring to go. Some of them had a taste of it in the ODIs and I personally think we did a lot better than what a lot of people expected in the ODI format,” the touring skipper said adding: “We want to create an even bigger surprise in the T20s and come away with the trophy at the end of the series.”

“We want at the end of the series it will be 8-2 in our favour (chuckles). But it’s just different formats I guess,” he added.

Asked if the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will make a difference, he said: “Any team has a better chance if they don’t play. They have loads of experience and quality. So Virat and Dhoni missing diminishes the quality.”

“But that being said, there is still loads of quality in the Indian side. We won’t be disrespecting them or take them lightly just because they are missing those two. Any team would miss Virat and Dhoni,” Brathwaite added.

At the Eden, West Indies won the 2016 World T20I title with Brathwaite smoking four consecutive sixes in the last over to turn the tide miraculosuly in their favour.

“I guess it was a personal milestone (2016 World Cup win, four sixes) it was a good night for myself and for West Indian cricket. But that’s history. We now have a very exciting squad and it’s for us to find a best way to get the best from each and every player,” he concluded.

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