West Indies v Australia, 1st Test, Bridgetown, 3rd day

'Batsmen underestimate me' - Sammy

Daniel Brettig at Kensington Oval

April 9, 2012

Comments: 38 | Text size: A | A

Darren Sammy celebrates Ed Cowan's wicket, West Indies v Australia, 1st Test, Barbados, 3rd day, April 9, 2012
Darren Sammy: "Everyone will have their opinions but as a unit going forward, I know I'm a crucial member in this bowling unit." © Getty Images
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Surprise rippled around the Kensington Oval when the West Indies captain Darren Sammy, not Fidel Edwards, took the ball alongside Kemar Roach to begin the third morning. That surprise turned to admiration in the space of 10 overs of the shrewdest fast medium from Sammy, which returned the figures of 2 for 14 and set the hosts on the path to a commanding position with two days remaining.

Not the fastest bowler, nor the most prominent exponent of swing, Sammy instead relies on unrelenting accuracy and subtle use of angles at the crease for his wickets. Ed Cowan was asked to play at only one of his first eight deliveries, but the ninth was delivered from closer to the stumps and on a line the opener could only nibble at for an edge behind. David Warner fell in similar fashion, pushing firmly at a ball of precise line and "in between" length and offering a catch to Darren Bravo in the slips. Shane Watson, also, could easily have been given out lbw to Sammy, who said his team had planned well.

"I think the batsmen really underestimate me," Sammy said. "They get through the quick men and see me and say 'ah he's not so quick'. But what I rely on is accuracy: frustrate them, frustrate them, take the ball away from them, then get a little closer, just in that little channel to play or leave. That's what I did today and what I've been doing throughout my career, just putting the ball on one spot.

"Warner is new to Test cricket. So is Cowan, and Watto [Watson] has just come back after not playing Test cricket for the last Australian summer. We all knew what to expect from [Michael] Hussey as we saw today, they call him Mr Cricket, he always gets Australia out from crucial positions. We stuck to our plans.

"We noticed [Michael] Clarke and [Ricky] Ponting love the ball closer to them … we had our plans for bowling to them. Last night we didn't execute properly but the plan to Warner and Cowan was to be a little fuller with the ball slanting across, and once we did that we got the results. So we did plan well for their batsmen and bowlers - we were prepared for this series."

Sammy's decision to take the ball straight away on the third morning was also driven by the pragmatism that has characterised his captaincy. By keeping the runs tight at one end, he allowed Edwards or Roach to attack from the other, while also leaving them fresher if the visitors did not lose early wickets.

"We had the two quick men, and it could have been a longer day," Sammy said. "We don't want both of them going at full steam, then we've got to make a change to myself and then the spinner, so the plan was to rotate the two early in the morning and see how it goes, and it worked well for us. [Economy] was considered as well, because they were going at four plus an over and you needed someone to pull it back.

"I understand my job in the team and I just go out there and do it. Everyone will have their opinions but as a unit going forward, I know I'm a crucial member in this bowling unit. If you look at Fidel and Roach they go at around four an over in Test cricket, Bishoo goes at three and I go at two. So my contribution is crucial in the team set-up and I go out and try to do that every day."

Having top scored for his side on a third consecutive day of struggle, Clarke admitted his batsmen would need to learn to adjust their attitude and expectations to adapt to Caribbean conditions, which are slower and more awkward than they seem to have catered for. As in the tour match at the Three Ws Oval, the tourists found batting a struggle.

"I think we, as a batting group, need to accept it's going to take a long time to score runs," Clarke said. "It's a lot different to Australia where you can go out there and cream the ball and hit plenty of boundaries. As we've seen today, once the wicket does get a little bit up and down you have to be willing to bat for long periods."

Though Watson's involvement in run-outs has become an unhappy pattern, Clarke denied it was a matter that the vice-captain needed to address as a matter of urgency, saying the run-out of Ponting was unfortunate. "It's something we'd prefer not to talk about," Clarke said. "It is a part of the game and it is unfortunate, you never mean to run anybody out. It was a big wicket, losing Ricky, but it's no one's fault. It's a part of the game, you've just got to try your best not to have it in any form of the game. It's hard enough for all the batters, especially chasing a total like that.

"Every player's different, everybody runs at different speeds and sees the game in a different light. I don't think [Watson needs to look at it], it's just unfortunate it happened today and that it was a good player in Punter [Ponting] who's had a really good summer and is in pretty good nick. His runs would've been handy out there in the first innings but what it means is, he's going to get a second chance."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Rahulbose on (April 10, 2012, 15:51 GMT)

The problem with Sammy is that as Captain his team seems to have adopted the same attitude of playing within limitations. There is no one with much confidence to go out and attack the opposition. Maybe its a reality of the current WI team, but watching WI play cricket with this attitude is painful.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 15:07 GMT)

Why we as fans think we have to put some one down in order to show improvement in some one else. To all the fans that think Sammy is the best all rounder to Sobers and Bravo here are some names that comes between Sobers and bravo, Vanburn Holder, M Marshall, B Julian, K Boyce ,R Harper,Carl Hooper and Jimmy Adams that are for better than Sammy. I also notice with Sammy he hide him self from bowling when the pitch is not bowler friendly some people will make the case that he is not selfish hes given other bowlers the opportunity but when all bowlers are getting smash around the park that make me think that he is selfish by not bowling just to preserve his bowling average he did it India and in the ODI .

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

"metman i must agree Sir Garfield Sobers is the only all-rounder to ever play international cricket . You didnt even mention his wonderful and fluent fielding :)

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 13:04 GMT)

I think WI has done a favour to the team by dropping Gayle. We have seen that now they are playing as a team. They should also take action on others who are playing IPL instead of playing for their country. We have seen Pakistan has droped Younus,Afridi,Shoaib Malik, Kaneria and Akmal for their high headness. The result of which is excellent. They now understand that nobody is the above the cricket. It is time that India should do the same to bring back the glory to their country.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 12:45 GMT)

Wish Sammy could contribute a bit more with bat...then they can get rampaul in...that would make this windies a very good team

Posted by Snick_To_Backward_Point on (April 10, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

Well done Sammy, led from the front with bat and ball so far. Windies seem galvanised, working hard in the field. It'll come if they carry on. As for Aussies, it was difficult to know whether to gloat or feel sorry for the Aussies yesterday. Hussey's innings was painful to watch and most of batsmen seemed happy to occupy the crease at 1.5 RPO. No Aussie fight or competency except for Clarke. Ponting's run out would have been comedic if it wasnt so tragic.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

Seems, Sammy thrives from a bump on the head.

Posted by Irie2012 on (April 10, 2012, 12:03 GMT)

Warner's ego is something he needs to overcome if he wants to be a consistent test cricketer. He has lots of talent but is arrogant. He should take a leaf out of Shiv's book.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

Likes it Sammy.. Now please pay full attention to remaining two day. WI is on top and can take a lead of 1-0.. As the batting on last day will be so difficult. Good luck WI bowlers for tomorrow and for the 4th inning.

Posted by Metman on (April 10, 2012, 11:14 GMT)

@ Ricardo Williams....obviously you have now awoken from a very deep sleep over the Easter weekend,or maybe you were in a coma and is still a bit confused ! Man..how can you mentioned ALL ROUNDERS and link Sammy and Bravo with Sobers ? Look ! ,Sobers is in a class with Sobers.. Someone needs to tell you that he was the ONLY cricketer who bowled pace,wrist spin and finger spin with telling effects and still had the energy and class to score 26 test centuries av.57 plus,bettered only by Headley and Weekes for the WI.That makes him the ONLY ALL ROUNDER in crickets' history ! You should now do the right thing and apologised to Sobers.The others are merely cricketers who can bat and bowl....at age 28 , Sammy has a test av.of around 17....no test century.....1 first class century.In track and field terms Sobers would give Sammy and Bravo, a 20m advantage in a 100m dash,and still beat them by 30m ...,pulling up 20m from the end.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

Sammy, like Shiv is a man who knows his limitations, but equally knows what he wants, and how to get it. Without doubt he is an underrated bowler. But he is a proud and confident lad, & that is what he has going for himself. Sammy & Shiv r individuals with extremely strong characters. Such guys can achieve surprising things, Shane Watson knows that. Sammy, unlike others before is not a lay back kind of guy. He is a very focused & highly competitive captain. And from all reports he seems to have a stable family live. That helps a lot.

Posted by Trapper439 on (April 10, 2012, 10:44 GMT)

He has his limitations, but he's really embraced the captaincy. He's one of those guys who's just so comfortable and at home on the pitch that he can bend the situation to his will, a bit like Botham or Warne (although obviously not at the same level or as regularly as those two).

Posted by Rant0r on (April 10, 2012, 10:42 GMT)

How was the run out no ones fault? Watson sold his partner up the river, yet again

Posted by caughtatcover on (April 10, 2012, 10:33 GMT)

Darren Sammy is the perennially questionable candidate but I have always admired him for being able to work extremely hard..he doesn't possess the talent and flamboyance of some of his predecessors but he makes that up with plenty dedication and determination...for me he is the right person with the right attitude to lead team West Indies in the future.

Posted by drewkatski on (April 10, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

Yes, Sammy has been doing quite well recently with ball and making a bit of an effort with bat but remember that its too early to toot your horn, consistency is essential!

Posted by Mayan820 on (April 10, 2012, 9:44 GMT)

Darren Sammy is my ALL TIME favourite cricket captain. He is simply fantastic! I am a South African, by the way and will always support the Proteas as my no. 1 team, but we are talking cricket captains now. Cricket players, everywhere, hugely underestimate this guy, but one thing is as clear as daylight to me . . . the Ausies, after this series, will never again underestimate him and other international bowlers and batsmen, alike, around the world better take notice or pay dearly. The best thing about Darren Sammy is that he places the God of the Bible first in his life & because of that the Latter is raising him up higher and higher. You go Sammy . . . destroy the Ausies with my blessing!

Posted by Windies2Dheart on (April 10, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

Most of Sammy's critics are frm Jam,Bar or TNT. These people often believe that they should always have at least 4 players from their respective countries on the team. Im not even surprised that he is second in test ratings (for WI bowlers) only to Edwards. Of course we have more talented bowlers. but test bowling also requires perseverance, fitness and an understanding of stages and situations in the game among other things.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 9:31 GMT)

Sammy I like you but u just revealed all the teams plan for the Australian batsmen.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 9:11 GMT)

Go Darren Sammy and the WI!! I don't know why they bringing back Gayle. He only wants to play in the T20 World Cup and then he'll kick WI to the curb again and run away somewhere.

Posted by RandyOZ on (April 10, 2012, 9:11 GMT)

Sammy rolled the openers. I havent seen fidel do that in a while. The only one pushing for a spot is rampaul.

Posted by vrn59 on (April 10, 2012, 9:05 GMT)

I was a big critic of Darren Sammy until now. His captaincy decisions in WI's tour to India confounded me and his batting was unworthy of that of a 'Test all-rounder', which is what he calls himself. However, he seems different now. Maybe he has learnt from his mistakes and matured, or maybe its just easier for him to play at home, but Sammy is now an improved captain. He has got together a good team consisting of talented young players (and of course, Chanderpaul) and with coach Ottis Gibson's help, has turned it into a competitive, match-winning side. I believe that is why he is crucial to the team, more than his bowling. He is a good first-change seamer though, and has been more successful (at least statistically) with his wickets and his economy than any other WI bowler in the past two years or so. His batting is more like T20 slogging though, but I guess that strengthens WI's tail in the Test team. Its to see WI on the rise! World cricket will benefit heavily from this.

Posted by StoneRose on (April 10, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

Well Done Darren Sammy...he deserves some credit for his captaincy and this performance.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 8:08 GMT)

Good stuff from Sammy; c'maaaaannn the West Indies! :)

Posted by akshayasiri on (April 10, 2012, 7:22 GMT)

Less Expectations and More Achievements, Sammy is proving, he is one of the good cricketers west indies have produced. I think WI is improving under his captaincy and playing as a team. Hope they will achieve more positive results.

Posted by Viky_Robin on (April 10, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

Till WI tour of India,I hate Sammy, I used to criticise him. But he had proved me wrong, his accuracy(while bowling) is spot on and his leadership is invaluable one for wi. If he could improve his batting,he will be one of the valuable allrounder. He is a team man and now I like him very much.ALL The Best SAMMYYYYYY..

Posted by Woody111 on (April 10, 2012, 6:52 GMT)

No Clarkey, Watson does need to look at his calling and running between the wickets. He is appalling and the frequency with which his actions results in the other bloke - never him - being run out means he has to address it.

Posted by gothetaniwha on (April 10, 2012, 6:41 GMT)

gotta agree with most comments here , leading the WI team , and doing a great job ,teams seems to be alot happier unit with him in charge and getting results without Gayle .

Posted by Wasim_Wasamadroota on (April 10, 2012, 6:34 GMT)

I have always liked his style of bowling and captaincy. Wiley medium pacers seem to have gone out of the game, I enjoyed Andrew McDonald's bowling when he was in the Aust test team because it was tight and kept the batsman honest. Even Shane Watson became a much more dangerous bowler when he backed his pace off and concentrated on bowling stump to stump. Test cricket isn't all about bowling fast and smashing boundaries.

Posted by simonviller on (April 10, 2012, 6:19 GMT)

Please don't mention ,or compare Sobers here ! I am very supportive of Sammy but this is a streach . I have to agree with him ,that he is an important part of the team and it showed today . During the prior series with ,India and Pakistan ,Sammy was the man who very often ,had to break a partnership ,or remove one of the openers ,while our pacers spayed the new ball all over the place . He is the most cerebral among the lot of bowlers ,however his batting needs to be improved to be able occupy the the wicket for sustained periods ,using the proper techniques of batting ; While a quick fire 40 is good ,it's the occupation of the wicket for longer periods that's most rewarding ....

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 5:55 GMT)

I like Darren Sammy's attitude to the game. Keeps his calm, always focused. And yes, relentless, always. Makes most of the limited resources in his team.

Just about the right guy to lead WI.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 5:51 GMT)

@Rahul_78, Warner only knows about playing cricket in Australia where he can score at 4 runs a over and have a strike rate of 80, yet this is his 1st time in West Indies and he knows nothing about batting in these unfamiliar conditions, he is also young at 25. Truth is you can't score at the same rate all around the world, otherwise conditions would be all like Australia, and this is what Warner expected. Welcome to test cricket outside Australia David Warner.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 5:47 GMT)

@ Ricardo Williams - best all-rounder since Sobers and Dwayne Bravo???, really now lets not suffer from horrendous delusions of grandeur here and make such ridiculous statements.

Good to see Sammy himself admitting that batsmen horribly under-rate him, since that really is the case and although he does a job, i dont expect it to last throughout his career.

If he is dropped totally today and Rampaul and Russell play as the third season i am convinced the West Indies bowling attack would not be affected, so i that sense i disagree that he is a crucial member of the windies bowling unit.

Case in point would be Trent Copeland. He is similar slow medium pace bowler, who had great stats who did a similar job for the aussies when they won in sri lanka last year.

Since then Australia have had the emergence of three quick 90 mph young bowlers in Pattinson, Cummins and Starc - plus the re-emergence of Siddle and Hilfenhaus. Australia attack certainly isn't suffering from dropping C opeland.

Posted by satish619chandar on (April 10, 2012, 5:40 GMT)

He WILL lack the pace of Roach or Edwards and guile of Rampaul or any other pace bowler.. But none can match his commitment.. Just gives his all for the team.. During the T20 games, when he was hit for more than 10 runs, he just took himself off the attack and went with other available options without being selfish and trying to prove a point and take it upon himself..

Posted by Sulli001 on (April 10, 2012, 5:33 GMT)

Sammy is doing an outstanding job, finally a leader with self belief and the team are right behind him. A win in this test will be the catayst for great things for this West Indes team.

Posted by Meety on (April 10, 2012, 5:24 GMT)

I wonder what more does Sammy need to do to be respected by WIndies fans. The only criticsm I have of Sammy is that he needs to lift his batting ave by 10, to be an allrounder. He is 100% right when he talks about being "...a crucial member in this bowling unit..." The other 3 bowlers are attacking (Bishoo has a high S/R but a Leggie is always a more attacking weopan than an offie), & Sammy provides consistancy. Good onya Sammy.

Posted by prashnottz on (April 10, 2012, 4:54 GMT)

Sammy WAG.... Awe inspiring individual with his own distinct captaincy style and commitment...

Posted by Rahul_78 on (April 10, 2012, 4:41 GMT)

Only yesterday Warner took a dig at WI scoring rate and specially pointed out Brathwaite but now his own captain has admitted that OZ batsmen "need to learn to adjust their attitude and expectations to adapt to Caribbean conditions". Wonder what Warner will have to say about the scoring rate of his teams two best batsmen in Clarke and Hussey.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 4:20 GMT)

Darren Sammy is a very intelligent cricketer. He rises above expectations when others have written him off. He has great self-belief and he is always seeking to improve him game. The West Indian players will grow around Sammy. He is fearless and he can quickly turn a game around either with the bat or taking wickets, or on the field. He is the best all-rounder West Indies have produced since Garfield Sobers, and Dwayne Bravo.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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