West Indies in England 2012

Slowly but surely for Sammy

West Indies captain says his side have competed against India and Australia and now need to start winning

George Dobell

May 14, 2012

Comments: 69 | Text size: A | A

Darren Sammy needs his umbrella as he inspects the pitch, press conference, Hove, May 3, 2012
Darren Sammy can see the dark clouds lifting from West Indies cricket © PA Photos
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They may be missing several of their leading players, have been beaten in the warm-up game, written-off in the media and up against the No. 1 rated Test team, but West Indies captain Darren Sammy has warned England not to underestimate his side's chance ahead of the Test series beginning at Lord's on Thursday.

West Indies' Test record in recent years is grim. They have won only one of their previous 10 series - and that was against Bangladesh - and only two of their last 24 series stretching back to 2004. Indeed, since December 2003, West Indies have played 80 Tests, won just eight - including two against Bangladesh - and lost 45. It is not a record that inspires confidence.

But Sammy believes his side is progressing. While he accepts the results do not show it, he insists there have been encouraging signs in recent Test series. Notably, West Indies pushed India hard in Delhi before collapsing against Ravi Ashwin in their second innings and succumbing to a five-wicket loss. Similarly, they came to close to upsetting Australia in Bridgetown, only for another second innings batting collapse to eventually sentence them to a three-wicket defeat.

"The only thing that has not been happening is the victories," Sammy told ESPNcricinfo. "We've been playing good, competitive cricket against strong sides like India and Australia and all our Tests have been going five days and down to the wire. Not many teams go to India and give India a run for their money, but we did that.

"Coming from where we are right now, we are not going to start winning straight away. We are taking baby steps to the ultimate goal. We are playing well and dominating teams throughout matches.

"The problem is that we keep losing key moments in matches. One bad session keeps costing us. Champion teams seize the moment but we keep having a bad session where we might lose five wickets in an hour. We just need to cut that out. Once we eliminate those bad sessions then we'll make progress."

Sammy also reminded England that the sides did not have to look back very far to the last team his side caused an upset. A young West Indies squad travelled to England to play two T20 internationals last September and, having lost the first game by 10 wickets, they hit back with a 25-run win to square the series. West Indies also won the last Test series between the sides in the Caribbean.

"We were a very inexperienced team in September," Sammy said. "People said we were just on our way to Bangladesh, but we beat England.

"Every team that comes here, the media try and bring them down for England. So we know what to expect. We have to handle the distractions - be they the weather or the press - and concentrate on doing our best on the pitch. People don't expect much from us, but we know that once we play to our potential we can compete very hard against England. If we can put runs on the board, we back our bowlers to take 20 wickets against England."

If West Indies are to do that, it is crucial that they have their best attack available to them. As things stand there are slight injury doubts hanging against all three of their leading seamers - Kemar Roach (foot), Ravi Rampaul (neck) and Fidel Edwards (back) - though it looks as if all three should be fine. As Roach, who is eagerly anticipating his first Tests at Lord's put it: "Everyone wants to be here; there's nothing going to stop me playing."

Sammy also said his entire side had been inspired by the documentary Fire in Babylon, which tells the story of West Indies' domination of Test cricket in the 1970s and 80s. He drew parallels in the challenges facing his team and West Indies team of the early 70s.

"Fire in Babylon is my inspiration," Sammy said. "I have watched it many times. I knew our history - but to see it again, to hear the passion in the voices of the players - it's got to make you think about how important what we do is to the people of the Caribbean.

"All of the guys have seen it and been inspired. The guys are aware of how important West Indies cricket is to the fans. They appreciate the history and they carry the legacy. Some never knew about it - they knew the team had been great - but they didn't understand what previous teams had gone through and what they had to endure. They didn't understand about the challenges they had to rise above.

"We have different challenges now. We dominated the world for 17 years and conquered all teams. People got used to success. A lot is expected of all West Indies teams since then. It could be a burden - every fast bowler is compared to Ambrose or Walsh and every batsman is compared to Greenidge or Lara - but I prefer to see it as an inspiration. That's the path we have to follow.

"Everyone in the Caribbean wants West Indies to do well. When we are playing well our brand of cricket is very entertaining. The turnout from the public in our last series - in Tests and ODIs and T20s - we've not seen that sort of support for our team in a long while. The reason is that they see the team competing. We're not winning, but we're playing with passion and if we do that, the victories should be just around the corner. We're fighting, we're showing passion: we understand what we have to do."

Darren Sammy was talking at the launch expansion of Sport for Life, a cricket-based community education program that hopes to equip young people with life skills and instil in them a love of sport. For more details visit: http://www.sport-for-life.org/caribbean/

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by WI-forever on (May 16, 2012, 18:14 GMT)

I will skip all the cricketing arguments about captaincy, who deserve a place in the West indies team and who does not deserve to be in the team. There are two ingredients needed for a team to be successful, ABILITY AND DESIRE/PRIDE. One without the other gets you so far no further.

I live in the Uk and is a long suffering West Indian. For years I have for too watched West Indies being humiliated on the field and the TV camera switches to the PLAYERS BALCONY to see these same players laughing and joking like they are the winning team. No sign of embarrassment, sadness, or shame. My son often ask do these guys care that they have just lost?

The current team are no world beaters, but neither were those of the last few years, what have is pride in representing the WI, burning desire to succeed, and hurt when they are losing. The tears in Sammy's eyes when he could not get the team home in the ST LUCIA ODI IS TESTAMENT TO THAT.

THATS A GOOD START

Posted by Shaynej on (May 16, 2012, 16:32 GMT)

99% of the animus against Sammy in these comments is because he believes (and states more or less openly) that Gayle was a disruptive influence in the dressing room and did not lift/carry the other 10 players in the team. How can you carry your team when you give off the air that "you're too cool to care"?

Yes, Gayle is a superlative talent but he's not the first talent to occupy in the WI dressing room. None of the legends before him seemingly acted that way. If Gayle had occupied the dressing room with legends like Lloyd, Richards and Greenidge, they would have crushed him if there was ever a sense that he didn't put the WI team ahead of his "cool" persona.

No one would say that Sammy is a better player than Gayle but Sammy deserves to be WI captain for one simple reason - he believes that cricket is a team game and tries to carry all his 10 other players with him. Criticize his modest record all you want, but Sammy plays his heart out and his team can see and respect that.

Posted by   on (May 16, 2012, 16:26 GMT)

Other than a longer period, can somebody state what's the difference between losing in 3/4 days and 5-days?? As afar as I know, it's still a loss, so all the hullabaloo about the team "improving and competing" is simply a mask over the underlying problems of Windies cricket. Brendan Nash's statements recently reiterated what many already knew, and that is the structure of cricket in the region is designed for failure. The design is being deliberately maintained by the WICB to deflect attention from its own incompetence and that of its lackeys, namely the selectors and the coach. Hoping for the best appears to be their strategy, while ignoring the reality of the situation. How can a team be loaded up front with players who have not demonstrated any real competency with the bat at the highest level of the game?? Why include the same player as captain for every format of the game when any sane individual with a knowledge of cricket knows that he is NOT A TEST CRICKETER??

Posted by   on (May 16, 2012, 15:48 GMT)

My fellow WI cricket fans please stop viewing Sammy as great captain just to justifying his place in the team . The problem I have with Sammy as captain is he think he have to get rid of all the guys who are seniors over him regardless of there records.Also Sammy was acting during the impasse with Gayle and WICB as if he was neutral on the issue but when Gayle gave his availability to WICB his press release sound like he is not so thrill to have Gayle back when he make the statement about hard work . Gayle played 3 test under Sammy captaincy and he made a triple century what more Sammy want ,Wasn't that hard work of course Sammy will never known. For me nothing against Sammy it's just the unfair talks about the team is doing better when the truth is the team is about the same as before missing a few proven players due to politic in the management.

Posted by   on (May 16, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

All these talk of WI competing only under Sammy is absolute nonsense. West fought hard when they last toured Australia, an even better fight than this one. Who was the captain? Who was the best batter of the series? West Indies won a test against South Africa the last time under the leadership of? Who led WI to an ODI series win England the last time? Who led them to their last home series win against England? If you know the answers, you know all these talk of Sammy and his band of supporters is nothing but absolute nonsense. His contribution to the side over the last year or so has been keeping one of the decent fast bowlers out of the side, as well as one of their prime batters, and of course all those dropped catches, and all these rubbish talk!.

Posted by Vineeth59 on (May 16, 2012, 13:18 GMT)

All you fools supporting sammy must understand onething....now Windies improved much better not DUE TO THE CAPTAINCY OF sammy ...WE ARE PLAYING BECOZ OF ONLY OUR BETTER BOWLING ATTACK....U KNOWHAT ...IF THIS BOWLING ATTACK WAS THER DURING LARA'S TIME, HE WOULD HAVE GOT MANY MATCHES FOR WINDIES...From 2000 onwards after ambrose and walsh retired ...first time am seing 10 wickets taken only after BRAVO came.....now our bowling attack is realy good....NOBODY is talking about last series win in ENGLAND when Gayle, Sarwan and all led in front.....at that time we got edward in form to tke 10 wickets ...data y we won...now we have much better pace attack.....Any respect i had on saam y was gone completely with thatstatemnt against gayle's comee back .....I bet within one year he will be out of team...at that time gayle ,asarwan , narine russell, bravo's all will be there.

Posted by sugars on (May 16, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

ITS AMAZING THAT THE PEOPLE POSTING HERE ARE CALLING FOR SARWAN,NASH,GAYLE,BRAVO,TAYLOR TO BE BROUGHT BACK.ARE THEY FORGETTING WITH THE EXCEPTION OF NASH THOSE PLAYERS HAVE BEEN PART OF THE WEST INDIES TEAM FOR YEARS AND WITH ALL THEIR TALENTS WERE WHITE WASHED IN ENGLAND A FEW MONTHS AFTER NARROWLY SCRAPPING A VICTORY OVER ENGLAND IN THE CARIBBEAN.IN ONE GAME THEY WERE LOST INSIDE 3 DAYS.PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT SAMMY OCCUPYING A BOLWERS SPOT ON THE TEAM,YET THE BOWLERS THEY ARE SUPPORTING DOSN'T HAVE A CONSISTENT RECORD AS STRIKE BOWLERS.THEY PERFORM GOOD IN 1 MATCH AND 10 MATCHES LATER GIVE ANOTHER GOOD SHOWING AND THAT IS ONE YOU GUYS WANT TO LEAVE SAMMY OUT FOR. WE NEED CONSISTENCY AND WE SEEM TO BE GETTING THAT NOW UNDER SAMMYS LEADERSHIP.NO LONGER DO WE LOSE GAMES IN 3 DAYS WE TAKING IT ALL THE WAY AND EVENTUALLY WE WILL START WINNING THOSE CLOSE GAMES WHEN WE LEARN TO STICK TO THE BASICS OF TAKING OUT CATCHES

Posted by   on (May 16, 2012, 7:33 GMT)

CMON windies! lets do this! we CAN beat england at lords!

Posted by   on (May 15, 2012, 20:50 GMT)

Can your top order score Daddy hundreds? That is the basic question. Sammy instilled determination, this, that and the other, will not work in England. They are really streets ahead of Australia in West Indies.

Posted by Rally_Windies on (May 15, 2012, 18:33 GMT)

@ gergory bean ....

look the WICB dismmised all of the last crop of OJT's ( On the Job Trainees) ! Sawaran and Gayle were OJT's who have just started to bloom .. Jerome Taylor was just starting to turn the corner as a bowler (and has almost become an alrounder the way his batting has developed over the years) ....

OJT's aer supposed to fail, fail, fail, and when they begin to prosper they are dropped because the weight of their failures destroy their career averages . A perfect example is Darren Ganaga, whose career average in Tests is 26, but it was actually 23 for 1st 30 Matches, and began to rise with at the end and just when he went 2 years averaging 40+ ... he got the axe ....

this OJT thing makes no sense .. you should be able to keep you batting average above 30 and your bowling below 40 even if you are an OJT .........

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