New Delhi [India], August 17 (ANI): Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy feels every team will have to go through India if they want to progress in the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021.
India will face Pakistan in their opening game of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 at the Dubai International Stadium on October 24. India, champions in the inaugural edition played in South Africa in 2007 and finalists in 2014, will also have Afghanistan, New Zealand, and two qualifiers from Round 1 to contend with in Group 2 while Group 1 comprises England, Australia, South Africa, the West Indies and two qualifiers from Round 1.
"India is the team to beat. We have heard Dinesh Karthik talk about it -- the experience, their T20 players come into the international cricket with, whether it is from India's domestic T20 cricket or the IPL, you see all the countries go there and get the experience," said Sammy on Star Sports show Game Plan.
"Apart from the World Cup, I think this is if not, the most pressure situation (tournament), where the players will be under and India has that formula. In 2016, when we left our homes, me, the coach and all the guys said -- in order to win this tournament, you will have to go through India. Whatever stage it is, you will have to go through India, whether it is the final, the semi-final," he added.
The mega event might have been shifted to UAE but Sammy feels India still has an upper hand since the hosts' players would feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 before going into the World Cup.
"Yes, it (the tournament) has shifted to the UAE, but don't forget, before that, all the Indian players would have completed the IPL and got used to these conditions," said Sammy.
"It is not surprising to me that the Indian cricket board chose this place, at this time, to complete the IPL and it will also benefit the other teams. But you will have to go through India in any tournament.
"As you have seen in the last few ICC tournaments, whether it is the Test Championship or ODI, you will have to go through India in order to win," he added.
The ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 in UAE and Oman will get underway from October 17, with the final to be played in Dubai on November 14. (ANI)