Champions Trophy: Windies no title favourites, says captain Bravo

Cardiff (Wales), May 30 (IANS/CMC) Captain Dwayne Bravo finds himself having to counter suggestions that the West Indies were one of the favourites to win the ICC Champions Trophy starting next week.

While the West Indies enter the June 6-23 tournament as reigning Twenty20 Champions, their form in the 50-over format has not been enterprising, losing eight of their last 13 One-Day Internationals.

Bravo told reporters here Wednesday that the West Indies did not consider themselves favourites and did not feel under any pressure to live up to such a tag.

"Well, last year in Sri Lanka we were cast as favourites and we ended up winning, so it's good to be favourites again. Hopefully we win this time," Bravo quipped.

"But honestly we don't think we are favourites. We just want to concentrate on what we have to do. We're in a very tough group, and first of all, we want to take it step by step, try and survive that group.

"The talk around is it's the group of death, so hopefully we get out of the group of death and then take it from there."

He continued: "A tournament like this, it's short, and you never know what can happen.

"Being favourites, it's good that other teams can actually - and media people can actually look at us as favourites, but we don't see ourselves as favourites.

"We just want to be humble and go about our business in our own way and let the man above take care of our destiny."

The West Indies have been installed in a tough Group B that includes reigning World Champions India, South Africa and the unpredictable Pakistan. The top two from each group will progress to the semi-finals.

The Caribbean side are gearing up for the campaign with their second camp in as many weeks, before clashing with Australia in the first of official warm-up games on Saturday, followed by a game against Sri Lanka next Tuesday.

The West Indies were whitewashed 0-5 by Australia Down Under earlier this year but Bravo believes the result could be different this time around on neutral soil.

"The series in Australia we didn't start well and playing in Australia, once you don't start well it's difficult to come back," Bravo pointed out.

"They're a fantastic team and we have to respect that. But they're out of Australia, also. Now they're in England. We're also in England. I think both teams are going to use the first game as preparation to see exactly what is the right combination for the teams.

"Yes, we want to win the game but it's about picking the right team, getting a balance and getting our style of play the way we want to play in this tournament.

The weather is expected to play a key role in the tournament, with wet wintry conditions still afflicting England and Wales. On their Test and one-day tour of England last year, the West Indies suffered in the conditions, winning just one game.

While acknowledging the challenges posed by the weather, Bravo said his side would be doing their best to quickly acclimatise to the foreign conditions.

"It's always challenging for us because of the weather. It's always hard for us to come for two weeks to this weather. Where we come from - the Caribbean - it's tropical, relaxing, and we're not the only team struggling in England to be honest. The Indians and Sri Lankans also struggle here," Bravo asserted.

--IANS/CMC

bs/dg

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