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‘Not afraid of the Aussies’

Dhaka: You can’t expect pleasantries on the field if Australia and the West Indies are battling it out. It’s not only going to be a battle of talent, it surely will be more a battle of mind games.

Comeback kid James Faulkner set the ball rolling by openly stating that he doesn’t like the West Indies team. “I don’t particularly like them,” Faulkner, who was fined for screaming an obscenity at Chris Gayle during the Canberra one-dayer last year, told the Australian media on Wednesday.

“You have to do things to get under their skin and try and irritate them to try and get them off their game. Players do that to me and I do it to other players. It’s a fact of the game. A lot of it is played in your mind.”

A day later, Darren Sammy didn’t wish to engage in a war of words. “The Australians normally have a lot to say. We’re just here to play cricket,” said the West Indies captain.

“I think James is the only cricketer who does not love the West Indies. I could safely say that West Indies are the second favourite team for the fans. It doesn’t bother us. Talk is talk... We just got to walk the talk out there on the field. He can say all he wants. We’re not bothered by it.”

Sammy made it clear that they are determined to make it two wins in a row and take a giant step towards making it to the semi-final. “We’re not frightened by them. It’s just another game of cricket. So far in the tournament we’ve not played to our full potential… Once we play to our full potential, we’d be very destructive.”

Sammy reminded the Australians of their potential when they crushed them by 74 runs in the 2012 World T20 semi-final, with Gayle smashing 75 not out off 41 deliveries. “We were destructive in that semi-final,” Sammy recalled.

Gayle didn’t practice on Thursday, but Sammy said there were no worries and he would be playing. “Chris is hitting the ball well. Smith too... They put on good runs for us. Yes, Chris has not been his explosive self that we’re used to, but we still scored 170. Australia have their plans but we back ourselves… They will come with their pace attack. Last time they did that we scored 200 I think. So we just have to come out and play,” the West Indies captain said.

“Australia are playing their second game. We know to give ourselves the best possible chance… we just have to win two games. We’ve had good matches against Australia where we have come out on the winning side of things. We want to continue in that way.”

The Australians face a must-win situation after losing their opening match to Pakistan, and Brad Haddin made their priorities clear.