England v West Indies, World T20 2016 final, Kolkata April 3, 2016

Sammy's winning words leave lasting impression for friends and foes

The West Indies team may have used bat and ball to settle scores on the field, but a title run provided free reign on an open microphone to settle scores off the field too
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Match Day: What will treble do for West Indies?

Darren Sammy was once the establishment man. He got into the side, led back then by Floyd Reifer, because the superstars were striking against the WICB. He was then made the captain. He has drank the Kool Aid, was the word around. He didn't always enjoy the support of his superstars because he was seen as the man undermining their struggle against the establishment. They have managed to turn him into the most eloquent, the most passionate anti-establishment voice.

Sammy doesn't make as many jokes in press conferences as he used to. He has won the trust of his superstars. He is himself a Twenty20 superstar, capable of winning matches in 10 balls. He, and some of his superstars, might not even have played this World T20. They all made a decision to take part in this tournament, to make their statement in the best way possible. They turned this into us against the world. Against the WICB, against commenters, analysts, pundits, journalists. Even though they are the most feared side in the World T20, and nobody ever writes them off, they picked out the few pundits that did write them off, and made it against them.

Even before he came to India, Sammy wondered if this would be his last tournament. He, and his other superstars, didn't have a contract with the WICB. They have to display their wares to get the contracts in the various leagues around the world. That's their livelihood. India, for example, don't have to worry about that. Bangladesh don't have to worry about that. West Indies have to. So they made the journey.

They came together only for the ninth time since the last World T20, but they are all used to playing the matchwinner's role for their franchises. This may as well have been a franchise team, but no franchise has ever had such a unifying cause to rally against. They played with the coolness of the shrewd professionals they are, and the passion of the wronged.

After securing the victory, in his speech at the post-match presentation Sammy spoke of only some of the challenges his side faced. He said of Rawl Lewis, the team manager, who had to personally work to get them into properly printed uniforms. He spoke of the hell coach Phil Simmons had to go through just because he said he wanted the superstars back for longer formats too. He thanked the heads of the CARICOM, but didn't fail to mention that they were yet to hear from the WICB.

At the press conference Sammy was in no mood for joking around either. He let his feelings be known without inhibitions.

"I don't know when I'll have these guys in the dressing room," Sammy said. "You look at the schedule, I don't see any T20 schedule for this year because of the system in the Caribbean. We have a tri-series and a [Test] series against India. We are not eligible for selection and so this tournament meant a lot. Not only for me but for the guys. We played for a cause. I really want to commend the men for the way they have just, they put their focus on cricket. And now that the cricket is over, we can deal with all the issues we want to talk about."

There was anger at everybody. He wanted to talk about all about that. 'We left the Caribbean and we said we were in it to win it," Sammy said. "The experts or so-called experts, commentators, journalists didn't give us a chance. One particular journalist said we play with no brains. That particular comment really brought this team together. Before that the contract issues.

"You look at the side: Gayle, Bravo, Russell, Badree, Holder, Brathwaite, Benn. Any given day they could have a brilliant performance. I said we have 15 match-winners. People said this was a one-man team. That's been the hallmark. Since that hundred, Chris has not turned up with the runs yet we keep winning convincingly. That shows we are not a one-man team. What I could tell you about this T20 team, it is bringing smiles across all the Caribbean fans. Even here in India, the crowd was behind us. We as a T20 outfit, we entertain.

Will Sunday night be the last dance in West Indies colours for Darren Sammy and several of his team-mates? © Getty Images

"I don't know about the glory days where we dominated Test cricket for 17 years. That is an area where we have to improve. But the success of this T20 team cannot be unnoticed. We bring smiles to the fans and that's what we are going to continue. The next World Cup is in four years. I probably have to get fitter if I have to continue, Chris [Gayle] might have to do more push-ups. That's why this one means a lot more than the first one because we knew what was at stake."

They might be angry, but it was not all anger. They might have hit four sixes in the final over, but it was not all big hits. They are also a smart T20 side. An example of that was another excellent spell of bowling from Samuel Badree at the top. He got Jason Roy in the first over, Eoin Morgan later, bowled a maiden and went for just 16 runs. By the time he was done, England had managed only 41 in seven overs and had lost three wickets.

"Badree's spell is not forgotten," Sammy said. "That's why he's the No. 1 bowler in T20 cricket. He keeps on turning the spell. We watched the semi-final between England and New Zealand. New Zealand kept on bowling pace, and we'd said that Badree is going to boss the Powerplay for us. That's exactly what he did. Bowl wicket to wicket and the results he's got, he set the game up for us."

Sammy had not answered one particular question earlier in the press conference. He had said he would come back to it. Just as the clock was about to strike midnight, the press conference was being wrapped up, but Sammy asked the media manager to sit down and went back to the same question. The question was if this was a tournament of vengeance for them.

"2012 we believed that we could win it," Sammy said. "We needed silverware in the Caribbean. Yes, they didn't give us a chance but the way we played. It was the first taste of glory since 2004. This one with all that happened before the tournament, the disrespect from journalist, form our own cricket board, that was out of order. The only way we could make a statement was by winning the tournament.

"When you see those 15 men out there play with passion, determination and hunger for success and victories, it all stems from what been boiling inside. This victory is solely dedicated to the Caribbean people, the fans all over the world."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Srikumar Narayan on April 5, 2016, 23:51 GMT

    Thanks to WICB's neglect of the players, it has contributed to the revival of WI cricket. Sooner than later WICB must sit with the players to resolve this impasse. Wavel Hinds and current head of WICB must resign if needed to take WI cricket forward. The game is more important than individuals. If the impasse continues, then ICC must step in and help resolve the problem. Can't let this struggle of players go on for ever. What is ICC's role then ? Well done Sammy. You are always a great sport. In victory and defeat !!

  • mapersaud on April 5, 2016, 15:58 GMT

    Tragically, Sammy will soon be dumped by the Board which does not realize that the team not only needs skills but a leader also.

  •   Richardson Mzaidume on April 5, 2016, 9:33 GMT

    If one looks at English Football Association not many members are well known outside England. FA is very effective and as a result EPL is the world's richest league. FA members don't fight with the likes of John Terry, Wayne Rooney, Rahhem Sterling and many others for publicity. In most countries including my own South Africa, board members want to compete with players in hogging spotlight. I suppose most of them envy these super talented young, fit men and women. As a result of that jealousy they always want to make lives of these sports stars a living hell. WICB also falls into the category of a board that consists of vicious individuals intent on destroying Caribbean cricket.

  • sray23 on April 5, 2016, 4:04 GMT

    The time is absolutely appropriate now to dissolve the WICB and come up with a new more independent board. Nothing the WI cricket team has ever achieved has ever been down to vision and planning by the board - in fact, always it has been DESPITE the incompetence of the board. It cannot continue any longer. Cricket in the Caribbean has to compete with other sports (eg. football, basketball, athletics) for playing talent and infrastructure, and hence it needs the best possible administrative structure. Otherwise, cricket will continue to die despite any inspiration the WI teams (men & women) continue to bring.

  • Cricinfouser on April 4, 2016, 20:59 GMT

    Such a sad state of affairs in any other country all these players wud ve been carried on shoulders by the board but wicb is the worst ever board in history of cricket i dont understand how does one person can playe with feelin of millions of people in the country they should take action against wicb come what may.

  • tonobwoy on April 4, 2016, 20:34 GMT

    Sir Frank Worrell will be proud of Darren Sammy. He has done a magnificent job of leading the ''disowneds''. Just look at Massa Cameron's response: WICB president Dave Cameron had already appeared to take offence at Sammy's remarks by tweeting: "When is the last time a critic paid one of your bills? Always remember that when you start to give them your energy." This T20 World Cup must become the downfall of WICB and the triumph of West Indies players.

  •   Sh Hasim on April 4, 2016, 17:20 GMT

    Last over delivery was really wonderful.

  •   S M Khurram Quaseem on April 4, 2016, 14:13 GMT

    Talking directly to Mr. Darren Sammy! I am a fan from Pakistan living in Middle East but the way you and your team played throughout the tournament, you became like our second national team. With the early exit Pakistan faced, we were only praying for you guys because you have equal sets of skills as anyone could have but the the passion and joy was pure. You guys played like professionals but celebrated like amateurs. After a long long time, I have seen a team playing exactly like a team; everyone backing another one. But Sir, in the end I want to contradict with your phrase that you are not a one-man team. You indeed are... Your all squad including team officials molded as a single entity. Your everyone man was Chris Gayle... Hope and wish you guys to keep playing in this manner! Congrats!!!

  • likeintcricket on April 4, 2016, 13:47 GMT

    It was a great sight to see WI winning by playing aggressive Caribbean cricket. That is why it is so important that countries like Pakistan and WI regain their former glory. I have seen many matches when they are written off but surprised many by playing some of the best brand of cricket. That is called shear talent without any methodological approach like SA or planning or training like some other sides. I must say instead of spending so much money on some other countries they should try to resolve issues whatever these countries are facing now.

  • spinkingKK on April 4, 2016, 12:32 GMT

    I said before the tournament began, India was favorites and their main challenge will come from the West Indies and one other team ( I don't want to mention them here, because I was so wrong about them). West Indies has the best T20 team in the world, no doubt. Only doubt I had was because the game is played in India and India have been playing magnificent. I am an Indian supporters who supports West Indies also. However, I did commented before the semi-final clash that the West Indies will win. When India lost, I wasn't unhappy. I was rather happy that West Indies won with their power hitters. It would have been sad to see these power hitters not making the final because of the running power of Kohli. West Indies offer an entertainment no other team can match at the moment.