ICC T20 World Cup: Captains Have Their Say Ahead Of The Competition
With one year away from the ICC T20 World Cup, the captains of all the ten participating teams have set their eyes on the coveted trophy. Australia will host the tournament starting from October 18. Melbourne Cricket Ground will host the finals of the competition on 15 November 2020.
Meanwhile, this will be the first time it will be a standalone tournament with the women’s version taking place in February next year. The T20 World Cup forms part of a ground-breaking 12 months for cricket in Australia, starting today with the beginning of the Women’s Big Bash League.
The captains of all the participating teams are aiming to take home the trophy from Australia. Meanwhile, the home side will also be desperate to stake their claims on the coveted trophy.
1- Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan said:
“This is the format we are mostly famous for, and it means a lot. It’s a proud moment for us to be playing in a World Cup. We are excited about that and hopefully, we can have a good preparation.
“It will be challenging for us. We are most famous for having good spinners, but at the same time we have one year and we will try our best to find good fast bowlers.
“We already have lots of support when we play in Australia. The players are expecting lots of Afghan people to support us in a big event like a World Cup. Hopefully, we will have a good time there, we will have good matches, and their support, their love will help to take us to victories.”
2- Australia captain Aaron Finch said:
“The T20 World Cup is going to be a great spectacle and for us as a team a major focus in 2020. It’s the one global trophy that has eluded the men’s team so far and we won’t get a better opportunity than on home soil next year.”
“Anyone can beat anyone on their day in T20 cricket so it’s going to be an exciting tournament that will have several teams believing they can win. It’s an amazing opportunity for Australia to have the world’s best T20 women’s and men’s players coming next year.”
“We saw in 2015 how great the crowds were for a World Cup, and we’re looking forward to seeing the whole country getting behind not just Australia but all the competing teams to create that atmosphere that only a World Cup can bring.”
3- Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan said:
“To be very honest, we have not been able to show consistency in the T20 format over the years. We have not played the game as well as we would have liked to. Having said that, we have performed fairly well in tournaments. We made it to the Super Eights in the inaugural ICC World T20, played the final of the Asia Cup and a few tri-nation events and we pushed India and Australia in the 2016 World T20. Some young talents are coming up and there is also plenty of experience in the side. We require good focus throughout the campaign including getting past the first round. We are better equipped now to adapt to different conditions and we will need to prove that again in the World Cup.
“I always say that the fans are our unofficial 12th man. No matter where we go the supporters come in numbers to inspire us. There is a significant Bangladeshi population in Australia and the past we have seen people coming in from New Zealand and many other parts of the world to our matches. I believe the Bangladeshi fans were the most colourful and sporting in the ICC World Cup in the UK and also when we were playing the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The level of interest in the National Cricket Team is continuously growing.”
4- England captain Eoin Morgan said:
“Winning the ICC Cricket World Cup on home soil this year was truly an amazing experience for me and the rest of the team.
“Our white-ball focus now shifts to next year’s ICC T20 World Cup. Australia is a fabulous country to hold a world tournament and always delivers incredible experiences for players and fans. With one year to go, the team is ready to build on our exploits over the past few months.
“I am delighted to be continuing as captain and competing in this tournament was a motivating factor to lead the team forward in what is a packed year of T20 international cricket.”
5- New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said:
“To be a year out from another ICC World Cup is exciting and does put the focus on T20 cricket.
“It’s a format our team enjoys and series against England, India and Australia this summer will bring some different challenges and opportunities to build as a team.”
6- South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said:
“The ICC T20 World Cup in Australia next year is yet another event of its kind that we as the Proteas team are looking forward to. Since the last men’s tournament in India in 2016, we have seen a lot of growth in the format from a South African point of view, with a new generation of young and exciting talent that has and continues to emerge.
“We are currently one year and 17 T20 international matches away from our tournament opener and look forward to taking our place in Group 1 of the Super 12 stage alongside India, England and Afghanistan.”
7- Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga said:
“To make sure that Sri Lanka does well in the T20 World Cup in 2020, now we are in the process of building up a very strong team by introducing new players, who are more suited to the shortest format of the game.
“As a team, we are doing well in the T20 arena. We beat New Zealand in the final T20 game, when they played here last month, and then continued our good work in Pakistan beating them three-nil. We have won four games consecutively and has also moved up in T20 rankings. I believe this is good for the team to build up going forward.”
8- India captain Virat Kohli said:
“The T20 World Cup in 2020 is a big focus for us, and we must use the next 12 months to place ourselves in the best possible position to compete for another major ICC trophy. Our players will be motivated to take their opportunities when they get selected for T20I matches to put themselves forward for the T20 World Cup, as we want to have a settled team combination by the time we get to Australia.
“India won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 when the format was new and the future a bit unknown. Since then, T20 cricket has truly come of age and it would be an honour to be the second Indian captain to lift the T20 World Cup trophy, and hopefully the third if the Indian women can win it earlier in 2020. We receive such incredible support when we play in Australia, with stadiums often packed with a sea of blue shirts. I hope to see more of that when we come back to Australia next year.”
9- West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said:
“It’s an honour and truly wonderful feeling to lead the West Indies in a major international tournament. The pressure is going to be on, being the defending champions, but we have to play well as a team to be competitive. We will be looking forward to it.
“A couple of keys to defending the title are playing well and playing consistently. We are a confident team, we back our strengths – one of which is our six-hitting ability – but also mixing that sort of aggression and that awesome power with smart, intelligent cricket as well. I think these will be keys – the grounds will be big and you will have to be smart to get over the line and win the ICC T20 World Cup for the third time.
“No secrets, we haven’t done too well in the last year are so. Our rankings have dropped. But we have some exciting talent in the Caribbean and we are looking forward to the shores of Australia and defending that title. In these big tournaments is when it counts and as a captain, with a strong group of players, we’re all looking forward to this major event.”