West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has vowed his side will continue to play with a smile on their face as they approach their World Twenty20 semi-final against Sri Lanka.
The defending champions have provided some of the highlghts of the tournament, from their colourful reprise of their trademark Gangnam-Style celebrations after beating Australia to captain Darren Sammy’s joyous fist-pumping when he clears the ropes.
They have grabbed the hearts of the enthusiastic Bangladeshi crowds and would be popular winners if they repeat their 2012 final victory over Sri Lanka.
With a side featuring heavy-hitters Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith as well as Bravo and Sammy, and a bowling unit led by in-form spinners Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine, they look in good shape.
And even though the competition has reached the knockout stage, Bravo insists their carefree approach will not be changing.
“By nature we are all laidback individuals. As long as we enjoy the game, we perform better,” he said. “We play for the fans. Those are the ones who we come to entertain, and it’s important we always have a smile on our faces.
“We want to entertain the fans most of all, the people of Bangladesh who come to every game and support the cricket, support the tournament.”
While West Indies are loved by neutrals around the world, Australia’s James Faulkner caused a stir before their Super 10 clash by saying he did not like them and was desperate to knock them out. Faulkner bowled the final over the match and was duly blasted out of the park by Sammy.
If that is anything to go by, Sri Lanka would be well advised to keep quiet. “There is no malice in our team,” said Bravo. “We just wanted to prove a point to Australia. I don’t see sense in trying to sledge people – that gets us going. West Indies are not a team you should try to upset. Australia got what they deserved.”
Sri Lanka supporters will be hoping to exact some revenge for that defeat against the West Indies two years ago on their home patch in Colombo.
But coach Paul Farbrace discounts the notion that memories of 2012 will dominate his team’s thoughts. “What happened two years ago will not even be talked about,” he said. “That was then, this is now.”