ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
South Africa v West Indies, World Cup 2011, Delhi
Sammy laments not converting starts
February 25, 2011
Before West Indies' opening World Cup match against South Africa, Darren Sammy had said he wanted the cricket community of the Caribbean to wake up on Thursday morning and discover that their team had broken open the World Cup with a performance to remember. After the game at the Kotla on Thursday night, what they would see and read though, was a scorecard that reflected one more game had slipped away from his team's dangerously careless grasp.
A seven-wicket defeat to South Africa could have been expected, for Graeme Smith's gamblers had sent warning shots across the subcontinent after their performance on Thursday night, but Sammy spoke of how West Indies threw it all away. "We had guys getting starts and none of us carried on. That's where we lost out," he said. "At 41 overs, we were 201 and our allrounders were still there. We had [Kieron] Pollard, [Dwayne] Bravo and myself ... we could have got to 270."
Sammy admitted that getting to 222 was actually a bonus, "given that myself, Chris [Gayle] and Pollard didn't do what we were supposed to. If any of us would have done something ..." he said and trailed off. The possibility of people like Gayle and Pollard performing to their optimum is probably what Sammy hopes will keep keep the Caribbean fans waking up on cricket mornings with some optimism.
The Delhi wicket has always made stern demands on bowlers and West Indies had, Sammy said, already decided to bat first. "Before the match everyone was uncertain as to how the pitch would play but looking at it, we should have scored 270-plus on the wicket." West Indies, he said, could only have made a match of Thursday's game had they got into South Africa's middle order. "From what we had seen in their series against India, we didn't think their middle order looked too strong, they have quite a few young players." He said that while opportunities had been created, "AB [de Villiers] batted like a senior and took South Africa home."
There were four referrals in the West Indies innings, and barring one that went in favour of Darren Bravo in the opening over of the match, South Africa were at the winning end of all. Sammy, who managed to retain his humour at the end of what must have been a tough evening, stepped aside from stirring up trouble when asked about the UDRS Lite in operation at the World Cup without both Snicko and Hot Spot, though he did hint that there were some decisions he was not sure of even after the referrals. "I think it's a good addition to the World Cup. Less mistakes are likely to be made," he said and went on, with a laugh, "The decisions that were made [in the match] clearly showed us the ball was hitting the stumps". The laugh however was as good as him, saying the word, "Not" in his head. Sammy ended the debate with, "So there is nothing much I can say about that, it was just Hawk Eye for us."
There would have been much debate about whether West Indies could have played an extra specialist spinner in their left-armer Nikita Miller to give Sulieman Benn some company and the team another slow bowling option, for they are with the current combination far too dependent on the part-time spin of Gayle. Miller could have been included in the team had Darren Bravo been asked to keep wickets instead of Devon Smith, who replaced the injured Carlton Baugh in the squad. Sammy would have none of it, "The guys who are picked in the XI to bowl are capable of doing the job but you have to be consistent to exert the pressure ... I don't think we misread the pitch." He was asked whether he missed Miller and said that hypothetically, "who knows what he could have," before adding, "after I lost [Dwayne] Bravo, I surely did miss him."
Dwayne Bravo's injury and West Indies' defeat may have distracted attention from the Darren Bravo innings, but Sammy's assessment of his No. 3's 73 was measured. At the start he said, "Darren is a very confident young player, most people compare him to Brian [Lara]. He really looks like Brian. He is a good asset for us. From the time he has made his debut he has batted well for us and I hope he continues." When asked about Darren Bravo's progress in his brief international career, Sammy said, "He played really well in Sri Lanka; all I would say is that when he gets to fifty, he must try to convert it to a hundred, which I am sure he will do."
West Indies' next match is against Netherlands in Delhi on February 28.
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