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Andre Fletcher: ‘Winning two T20 World Cups and ranking No. 9 is kind of off-balance’

Andre Fletcher has pledged that West Indies will continue to play a positive, aggressive brand of cricket in their three upcoming T20Is against New Zealand, despite the side losing five of their last six series in the format and sitting ninth in the ICC’s rankings.

Fletcher is in line for his first international appearance since 2018 on the back of a successful Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign with St Lucia Zouks and with Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons all missing from the squad.

As the squad arrived in Auckland from Queenstown on Tuesday evening ahead of Friday night’s series opener at Eden Park, Fletcher told reporters that he expected the side to maintain their usual approach despite poor recent results in the format.

“I don’t think anything will change,” Fletcher said. “We’ll continue being positive and playing our brand of cricket. It’s sometimes tough – winning two T20 World Cups and ranking No. 9 in the world is kind of off-balance, but I believe we’ll get back up there in the rankings.”

Despite their position in the rankings, West Indies are likely to be among the favourites for next year’s T20 World Cup in India, where they will defend the title they won in 2016. They have often struggled to get all of their best players available simultaneously for T20I series, and won their most recent series in Sri Lanka 2-0 with the majority of their global stars featuring.

They are missing several big names for this tour, with Sunil Narine and Andre Russell joining Gayle, Lewis, Dwayne Bravo and Simmons as absentees, but will still be able to field a stacked middle order featuring Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, captain Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell and Fabian Allen behind a likely opening pair of Fletcher and Brandon King.

“It’s a part of our preparation for the World Cup,” Fletcher said. “[For] all teams playing now, that’s what they’re getting their minds up for. Hopefully we can start well and see where it takes us. We’ve practised a lot, we’ve trained very hard, we’ve put in the work, and we strongly believe that we are capable and ready.”

Like West Indies, New Zealand’s recent results in the format have been surprisingly poor: they lost both of their home series last year, against England and India, and former captain Brendon McCullum intervened this week to urge them to focus on the format rather than resting senior players.

Regardless, they have chosen to rest Trent Boult and Kane Williamson for the duration of this series, while Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee and Ross Taylor will be rested for the final match ahead of the Test series that follows. New Zealand will be looking to break a run of seven straight T20I defeats (including three in Super Overs) in Friday’s series opener.

“Hopefully we can allow them to lose their next three,” Fletcher joked. “It’s a game we cannot predict. We’re all ready, we’re just hoping that everything goes well with us. We haven’t won a series in New Zealand [before] so hopefully we can turn that around.”

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