West Indies skipper Carlos Brathwaite on Saturday insisted India start favourites in the three-match series beginning here Sunday, though the statistics sway heavily in favour of the two-time World T20 Champions. India are yet to win against the Windies in their last four matches that includes a World T20 semifinal loss in 2016. West Indies lead India 5-2 in the overall head-to-head record.
“We don’t think so. India at home in any format (are) very formidable. Especially with the advent of 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.
“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.”
After a drubbing in Tests, West Indies put up a better show in the ODIs before losing the series 1-3. Brathwaite too hopes to surprise India. “We have a new team, young exciting team and our 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. We want to create an even bigger surprise in the T20s and come away with the trophy at the end of the series.”
Brathwaite said the absence of skipper Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni diminishes the hosts’ quality. “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,” he said.
West Indies are back at the venue where Brathwaite smashed four consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes in the final over to pull-off a sensational win in the 2016 World T20 final. “I guess it was a personal milestone (2016 World Cup win, four sixes) it was a good night for myself and for West Indies cricket. But that’s history. We now have a very exciting squad and it is for us to find a best way to get the best from each and every player.”