England v West Indies, World T20 2016 final, Kolkata April 2, 2016

'Short of brains' description angers Sammy


"The fact that this could be the last big tournament for a few key players has also brought us closer. We've formed our own little circle." © Associated Press

Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain, described commentator Mark Nicholas' pre-tournament characterisation of his team as "short of brains" as an emotional flashpoint for his side during the World T20. Nicholas had made the comment in a column for ESPNcricinfo on March 3, writing: "West Indies are short of brains but have IPL history in their ranks."

On the eve of the final against England, Sammy said that comment and many other depictions of his team as mercenary cricketers have rankled, especially because West Indies have been a leading T20 international side for several years. They won the 2012 World T20, and progressed to the semi-final of the 2014 tournament in Bangladesh, where they lost to eventual champions Sri Lanka.

"How could you describe people with no brains? Even animals have brains," Sammy said in Kolkata. "We're not an object, and for me, that comment really set us off. You have seen me talking about it. It's really emotional, for somebody who I respect and have a good rapport with generally, to describe our team - who two years ago were world champions - as guys with no brains. That's really out of order.

"This passion, these emotions, this anger - what these people have been saying - this has always been there from the inception of the tournament. God don't love the ugly, and we are very wonderful and beautifully made. That's why we play exciting cricket. So for us, all these things that happened before the tournament - that is the passion, the determination that we take on the field. Its just one more step to lifting that cup and we believe we can do it."

Notwithstanding the loss to Afghanistan after semi-final qualification had already been assured, West Indies have had an impressive run in this World T20. They comfortably defeated England, Sri Lanka and South Africa, and ran down India's 192 for 2 with two balls to spare, in the semi final. Sammy suggested that closing ranks and engaging a sort of siege mentality aided his side's performance.

"It's been a tough journey," he said. "A lot happened before the tournament, and I believe that everything always happens for a reason. I think the pre-tournament shenanigans brought us really closer together as a team. I don't know if you have heard the coach say it. The players have said it - it feels like it's us against everybody else. It's a format we've been consistent in, but every year nobody gives us a chance. All these things brought this team together. I think the fact that a few of us are getting old now, and we are aware that it could be the last for a few key players, has also brought us closer. We've formed our own little circle."

West Indies chase of India's score was notable for the number of boundaries hit. Of their eventual 196, 146 came from 20 fours and 11 sixes. Through the course of the Super 10s, they have scored 61.08% of their runs in boundaries.

"People say we don't rotate our strike well - we will talk about that," Sammy said. "But first thing is you have to stop us from hitting boundaries. That has been difficult for oppositions once we get in that swing.

"I think since the inception of T20, you've seen West Indies is a boundary-hitting team so that's no surprise for me. We know the power we have in the dressing room so it was exciting to watch. Lendl Simmons, Andre Russell and Johnson Charles displayed that type of batting - boundary hitting - against India."

Having already beaten England in their opening match, West Indies perhaps go into the final as the more fancied outfit. However, Sammy said England had improved with each outing since then, and suggested that his team might even be underdogs at Eden Gardens.

"We're always David [of David and Goliath]. David is a winner. Look, even now I still don't think people give us a chance," he said. "Goliath was big and strong but David defeated him with a sling and one shot. We always see ourselves as David. We will play like David, be smart about it, believe in ourselves and in each other."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Errol on April 5, 2016, 16:25 GMT

    The moral of the story WASPSTING is: "Be careful about correcting other people's mistakes, there might be some lurking at your very own doorstep."

    Regarding Darren's comment; for some reason commentators believe that they can say anything and get away with it especially from former imperialists. Well, they need to be reminded now and then that those days are long gone, so move on with the times and act "developed".

  • Neeraj on April 5, 2016, 6:56 GMT

    No denying that west indies is an excellent t20 team but that's because of their brute strength and what has Sammy done in the whole event anyway. Anyone can have a bad tournament but he hardly wanted to be involved. Never bowled until a bowler was absolutely thrashed and pushed himself as down the order as possible. When he did bat or bowl which was max 1 over and 2/3 balls, he failed. He just seems to be making himself important by doing these press conferences and being rather over enthusiastic in those dances. He might not even be played in the next WI game. They are just a happy go lucky team in my view totally shown up the moment count of over goes over 20.

  • Nur on April 4, 2016, 17:45 GMT

    Why worry about what Mark Nicholas said earlier and asking for his apology now? He is just another commentator of the game. WI performance proved many wrong including Mark. I am sure Mark is feeling like having his foot in his mouth.

    Anyway, Sammy is a great ambassador for this gentlemen's game. He may not be super talented but he is a work horse and have a huge heart like only few in this game. Youngsters should take a leaf out of his book on how to behave on and off the field while being a fierce cricketer! Kudos to you sir!!

  •   Mg Gm on April 4, 2016, 17:41 GMT

    People know Nicholas for his commentary from 2007 world cup final- It was Sri Lanka' cup actually. So no need to discuss much or react about him or others if they talk something wrong. But mistakes common, take lightly.

    Captaincy makes the difference. Timing and execution is important. Sammy may be not a good bowler but a great captain. He proved it. I realized it after Dhoni made 2 mistakes in semi finals: Dropping Dhawan and opening with Rahane Yuvaraj singh place should be given to Negi or Harbhajan( They can be better than ever learner Jadeja)

  •   Mick Jones on April 4, 2016, 14:38 GMT

    Men - Women - AND U19s. You can't get much more champion than that!!! Mr Nicholas should DEFO be writing a letter of contrition. Windies have just written a whole new bunch of records into the books - and didn't rely on the phenomenal Chris Gayle. Huge respect and congrats to the team & coaches. From an Ireland cricket fan. (PS.. come back Simmo... all is forgiven!!) :D

  • Channan on April 4, 2016, 12:38 GMT

    Sammy has a great T20 brain. He carries himself with dignity. The people of the WI ought to be proud of him. At least, I am. Well done to the women first and then to the men.

  • Sohel on April 4, 2016, 12:11 GMT

    Great job and best wishes for West Indies.

  • Mahendra Kumar on April 4, 2016, 12:06 GMT

    Good, if you can hit 2 sixes in 6 balls, why to bother running 12 times to score as many from 6 balls, that's where India failed in the semis.

  • Nawaz on April 4, 2016, 11:35 GMT

    Sammy is a very positive Captain and that is the key for his win over England and Mark Nicholas. Mark Nicholas should apologize if he is a man and has the guts. West Indies has proved him totally WRONG.

  • leftyb7421825 on April 4, 2016, 9:42 GMT

    Never mind Mark Nicholas's comment..!!!It has proved to be the perfect ammunition for the Windies to fire... and there were cannonballs all over the Eden Gardens during the final..!!

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