India v West Indies, 2nd Test, Mumbai November 13, 2013

'I thrive on criticism' - Sammy


Manjrekar: 'Sammy helps keep temperaments in check'

Darren Sammy knows the feeling. He has been there many times before. After every West Indies loss, the first man questioned is Sammy. Does the spirit, the pride, the passion he brings make up for the imbalance this less-than-strike-bowler causes to the side? Would the side feel the need for an extra bowler had Sammy been a tearaway fast bowler looking to take wickets? Then again, Sammy is the only man of any sort of pace that has stayed fit in the West Indies side for any considerable period. He bowls long, consistent spells when others are being awry, although the last Test is not a good example of that.

So the question is asked of Sammy again. He has to justify his place in the side. More than batsmen who are throwing their wickets away like millionaires. More than bowlers who are missing their length while striving for pace. "I have said many times before I thrive on criticism," Sammy said. "Probably it is the way the big man works above. I need to be under pressure to bring the best out of me. I have been in that situation from the day I started my career.

"To be honest right now I am not even worried. There is nothing more that anybody can say that will faze me," he said. "I criticise myself as well. I am not really worried about the criticism. I am here to do a job to the best of my ability. When the selectors who put me in that position feel it is time to move on, then so be it. We have moved on from Sammy as captain in one-day cricket. I am still enjoying the game. That [criticism] is the least of my worries right now."

This time, though, Chris Gayle has joined Sammy after looking uncomfortable in Kolkata. What is he going through? "I don't know if I could go into his mind," Sammy said. "I am not worried about Chris. Chris is somebody that could come up on any given day, like he has done all over the world, and destroy any attack. Hopefully he can start in this match, but over the years we have learned to not rely on one person. We all fight for each other together."

As a batting unit, which he now should be considered a part of because West Indies are playing only five specialist batsmen, there is a lot of work to do after the disappointing show in the three-day defeat in Kolkata. "I think it's more of us applying ourselves, being mentally tougher," Sammy said. "Both teams came into this series playing one-day cricket. India adjusted quicker than us. We were not patient enough. Once we were put under pressure, we didn't respond well enough. Something to work on."

Sammy spoke about working on the mental side of things after the last Test, but how can you change it in three-four days? "It is up to each individual to go back to that wonderful place where you were happy and confident," Sammy said. "To go back to that one good innings you had, that good bowling spell, that moment of brilliance you had, and fall back on it and get your inspiration.

"It is about getting inspiration from whatever, your kids, your family, your mum, your dad, whatever. To go out there and fight for yourself and your team-mates. It is going to be tough. It is always difficult to face India in India. It is a tough battle. But this team likes a challenge. We have to show we can rise to the challenge, and give Sachin a good send-off."

About the send-off, Sammy is hoping his bowlers will be extra motivated and queuing up to take that historic wicket, Tendulkar's last. "From the moment we heard Mumbai was going to be his last Test, all the bowlers were quite motivated," Sammy said. "This is a chance to go down in history. The last stroke he would play in any cricket match. Your name could down in there. The guys are motivated. Knowing Tino Best, he could be in his 14th over, and if Sachin comes in he would want to bowl."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 14, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    I am not surprised by the observation of 'Whispering Death". Holding was a bowler of class and performance. Sammy was a poor pick and continues to be a poor pick and a robber of some aspiring youth who has the potential to rise to the level of our stars of yester year. Sammy is too consumed with the glory of Captaincy to be honest enough to admit that he lacks the ability and thought prowess for the position. He however is not the single misfit in this scenario. Gibson and others around him seem reluctant to seek help with training and selection. Why do they insist on picking Tino Best? Are they mistakenly thinking that his name will translate into success?. Look on the other side of this sheet, the answer is printed there. The older Bravo? for what purpose. He like Sammy both have a predilection for bowling themselves toward the end of an innings to get tail enders that PROVIDE USELESS FIGURES and then convince themselves that they are first class performers.

  • Dummy4 on November 14, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    Mr Holding is not saying anything sensible because he is not making recommendations as to who should replace Sammy. So the West Indies should change the captain because the widndies failed in India?

  • Dummy4 on November 14, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    Being a nice guy who quotes the bible is not necessarily a good cricketer. Holding is not saying anything that any knowledgeable cricketer does not know about Sammy. You cannot look at Sammy and said that he has mastered any aspect of Test cricket. Yes, he claps a lot and run around the field at the fall of an opponent like an high school player, even when his team is loosing by an inning. He looks pathetic going thru that ritual as an adult player. That is Sammy's cricket. I want to add to Holdings observation by adding that, WI can never be a first rated test team with Sammy as a Test player and Ramdin as a keeper either. Ramdin is an average gloves man and definitely cannot bat. No successful test team has ever have a terrible batsman as a keeper as Ramdin.

  • James on November 14, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    Its sad to see this west Indian side, which though has some talented players, is not exactly a stable team. The only constant is Chanderpaul- it is around him that the team revolves. In the last test, Shillingford also proved his worth, and if the Mumbai pitch offers some help for pace bowlers, Best and Cotterel may also hold their own. Powell and Bravo can be seen as players for the future and their presence can be justified. Gayle plays an occasional match winning innings- though these are becoming rarer by the day. The team will gain a lot in balance by replacing Sammy by a pure batsman or a pure bowler, or even by someone like Deonarine who offers stiff resistance with the bat and is useful on spinning tracks as a bowler. It is not enough to have a big heart- the big heart should also translate into performance.

  • Arvind on November 14, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    He batted at No. 7, then bowled 12 overs out of 129.4 overs! What exactly is his role in the team? If he is an all-rounder, he has to bowl a lot more than that. If he is a batsman, he has to bat higher.

  • Rodney on November 14, 2013, 2:57 GMT

    after seeing big bravo tactics as wi captain sammys good right der leave em alone jus hope d test cud last 5 days and be competitive so master tendulkar cud enjoy his last tink he'll enjoy dat better dan a 100 in an india 2 to 1 victory in 3 days

  • Dummy4 on November 14, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    sorry i dont agree some people have short memeries ,sammy has done well ,when you think of just a couple of years ago the wi were playing as individuals ,now at least there playing as a team .sammy is not the problem ,the other 3 phases are the problem batting ,is a big problem plenty of talent but no application ,the teams batting is fireing on only 2 cylinders chiv and samuals. the pace bowling is shocking ,the spinners we have a chance , there are 4 or 5 spinners to pick from so at least thats something now for ramdin how inconsistent is he he might be a good keeper cant motivate the team as a good keeper should , has talent with the bat but no heart at all.

  • Alex on November 14, 2013, 2:37 GMT

    sammy is dead weight in sinking WI ship.

  • Sanjay on November 14, 2013, 1:58 GMT

    You can criticize Sammy as much as you like but he's a gracious man. The same can't be said about many of today's attention seeking cricketers, and quite a few former ones (no names, Shane).

    BTW, recently Sunny was banging on about how no-one will break Sachin's 51 Test Tons or his 200 caps. I have to disagree, Kallis is pretty close to 51 Tons and Cook could break it too. As for 200 caps, I can see Chanderpaul overhaul it, he shows no signs of decline whatsoever. Also, England and Oz play a heck of a lot of Tests, again Cook is a contender.

    It wasn't that long ao that I felt Sachin's 49 ODI Tons would never be broken but suddenly Virat looks a contender. It just goes to show that all records are meant to be broken but some are just plain difficult to overhaul, namely aggregate records. Sachin's ODI aggregate is simply astonishing, and his total #of international games (600+) is mind boggling.

    'However, never discount a new kid on the block who goes on to become a titan of the game

  • Dummy4 on November 14, 2013, 1:50 GMT

    @HDG1978 why not have them both score runs, their both fantastic players and deserve to score runs, especially in india.