May 2, 2012

The truth about Sammy

Darren Sammy may not have the best numbers but he is a man steadily improving while handling a difficult job
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Being the West Indies captain is like being the holder of high political office. You have a constituency to answer to, their expectations are very high and some will be detractors no matter how much good you do. You will also be judged on performance.

Since taking over one of the highest profile jobs in Caribbean society from Chris Gayle in late 2010, Darren Julius Garvey Sammy has experienced first-hand the effects of all the above. Especially the judgement on the performance part. Strictly on bald figures, a record of two wins and six losses in 16 Test matches and 13 wins, 19 losses, a tie and a no-result in 34 ODIs does not present a case for an extended stay in office. But with good reason, the expression "damned lies" often is mentioned in the same breath with statistics.

For the past week, I have been thinking about Sammy and his record and his critics. He was not obligated to take the job when the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) offered it to him, and no one can say that he campaigned to be captain. But at the same time, it is hard to imagine that any past West Indies captain has come to the job with a greater degree of skepticism hanging over him. In so insular a place as this, the fact that he is a St Lucian under a board with a St Lucian president and CEO has not helped him ease into the job. His modest record with bat and ball made an even stronger case for the opposition. By popular consensus it seemed, Sammy was a man not worth his place in the team and should never have been captain. As he gets ready for what will surely be another difficult experience in England this week, he still cannot shake the "loser" tag.

I wonder, however, if he is not a victim of a thing being repeated often enough until it is accepted as fact. It does not seem to matter what the evidence may show in the case of Sammy. But consider a few things, please. When it comes to having a losing record as West Indies captain, Sammy has plenty of company. Since Richie Richardson gave up the job after the 1996 World Cup, no West Indian captain has won more than he has lost. Excluding Ridley Jacobs, Dwayne Bravo and Floyd Reifer who were stop-gaps, we are talking about eight men. Sammy's record is comparable and in some cases better than his predecessors. Shivnarine Chanderpaul for instance won one, lost 10 and drew three in his tortuous 14 Test matches in charge. In 15 games, Jimmy Adams won four and lost eight, Carl Hooper won four and lost 11 in 22, while Gayle's 20 Tests at the helm brought three wins but also nine losses. Already however, Sammy's teams have drawn as many matches in 16--eight--as Gayle managed in his 20. And it is unlikely that Sammy will be allowed to stay in charge for 47 matches like Brian Lara did in three spells and lose 26 games while winning just 11.

Of course, there are many variables, like strength of the teams and the quality of the opponents against whom wins were achieved. The point is though, that Sammy's team - a currently very green side - is doing no worse than the ones that have gone before. And what about the captain's own cricket? Ad nauseam, it has been said by experts and John Public alike that Sammy as allrounder (a very loose description) is not worth his place in the side, that he unbalances it, that he is keeping a more deserving player out. Who exactly, on current form is that more deserving player?

Since they both fill the same role, let us use Dwayne Bravo as a comparison. There can be no question about Bravo's ability and overall value to the teams he plays for. But in his last five Tests (2010) he averaged 19.10. In Sammy's last five he averages 24.44 which is higher than his overall 19.09. With the ball, Bravo got five wickets in his last five games, Sammy took nine in his last five.

If the time gap makes you suspicious, then check what happened in the last ODI series against Australia. Sammy averaged 53.33 with the bat in those five games and took four wickets (36.75) and Bravo 18.80 with the bat and six wickets (34.16) with the ball. Just by extension, Andre Russell averaged 28.25 with the bat and took six wickets (26.33). Numbers sometimes are useful. In this case, they show the captain is contributing more runs to the team now, in both forms of the game. In the just concluded Test rubber against Australia, a difficult series for batsmen on both sides, Sammy averaged over 31 and was third behind Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo only among West Indians. And while his bowling has not been as penetrative as he no doubt would like so far this year, last season he contributed 30 wickets in Tests while Devendra Bishoo got 39, Fidel Edwards 32 and Ravi Rampaul 31. Sammy also had the satisfaction of actually winning a match for his team - the first Test against Pakistan in Guyana - with his seam bowling.

This season, Sammy's runs surely played a part in West Indies' sharing the ODI and Twenty20 series with Australia, the No.1 ranked ODI side. Those results were unexpected and represented an improvement on results in the corresponding ODI series last season when West Indies lost to both Pakistan and India.

Even in losing 2-0 to Australia in the Tests, West Indies so far in 2012 have mirrored the spirit of their captain who never stops trying. Sammy is a man who recognises his limitations and plays within them. He keeps working for improvement and this year, has been reaping some reward. So has his team. In separate interviews in Dominica, both Australian captain Michael Clarke and coach Mickey Arthur were moved to speak of the improvement they saw in West Indies as a team.

To stay in the job, Sammy will have to keep getting good results against the better teams, especially in Test cricket. But it would be disingenuous of the naysayers to downplay the improved results this year, even if they are limited, or to brush aside his own contributions to the side. And at a time when it is the norm to question the commitment of players to West Indies cricket, is it not a bonus to have a leader of Sammy's disposition? Watching him handle the media in this recent series, I noted the greater poise he seems to have, the bits of humour he allowed himself. He was a credit to the office, a man handling a very difficult job with all the grace he could muster.

Eventually, this West Indies team will outgrow Sammy. But that time has not come yet. So in the meantime, as the song says, keep doing what you're doing Sammy.

Garth Wattley is a writer with the Trinidad Express

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on May 6, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    @ Vivek Anand Bravo is not pathetic he has just lost form due to frequent injuries & seems to be more comfortable in T20 leagues. Bravo has scored 2 centuries in Australia & has a batting average of 30+. Sammy on the other hand averages in the teens & has rarely looked like batting sensibly against any of the sides he has batted against. On top of that Sammy cannot be compared to Bravo in the field anymore. Bravo is an athletic ground fielder who normally saves runs & rarely drops catches unlike Sammy who has dropped @ least 1 catch especially off the fast bowlers in almost every match since he has become captain costing us more runs than he has made. If Bravo is fit & his mind is in the game I would have him in the Test team over Sammy any day. Russell is also a very good prospect & Gibson should focus on improving his skils as a bowler as he is already a better batsman & fielder than Sammy. Unfortunately maybe he too has been distracted by the $$ in T20 leagues.

  • on May 5, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    It is easy to make Sammy look good by comparing him to Dwayne Bravo since Bravo is pathetic. Compare him to the potential of someone like Andre Russell who is a much better batsman and potentially a good bowler. Russell seems like he would be capable of being a #6 test batsman / allrounder.

    The actual person whose place Sammy is taking up is Jerome Taylor who was developing into Windies' strike bowler and was looking like a good #8 batsman scoring a century in testing conditions in New Zealand.

    I don't agree with the person who says Sammy is the 4th bowler doing the containing job. He is bowling lesser and lesser number of overs these days. Watson is the 5th bowler for Australia and he seems to be much, much better.

    Ideal team should be Gayle, K Edwards, Sarwan, Darren Bravo, Chanderpaul, Russell, Ramdhin, Rampaul, Narine, Roach, Taylor or F Edwards - Simmons, Barath, Deonarine, Pollard, Shillingford, Bishoo to be part of the squad - Dwayne Bravo should not even be in the probables

  • sneeky55 on May 5, 2012, 0:21 GMT

    Fantastic finish to the article. Yes, the Windies, loaded with so much talent, will hopefully come to fulfill it eventually, meaning Sammy, who is a player with less talent, will be excluded. He will still be remembered as the player who brought about west Indies' revival.

  • on May 4, 2012, 23:06 GMT

    Guys grow up,,,there is no small island and big island anymore. We all read the same books, we go to the same universities, attend the same colleges..CFA's MBA, Work experience, Dr..etc. In fact St Lucia has two noble laureates and we are probably on track for another one. This 2012 .......grow up. You guys have no god given right to rule west indies cricket...please stop behaving like kids..Lets get behind the team.

  • on May 4, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    I really enjoyed this article especially the comparison of Dwayne, Russell & Sammy. I always wanted to know who were these better all-rounders some persons keep referring to. And the captain part, what do u thing of that? I always said what he lacks in ability, he makes up in character. This is a guy with a BIG heart & total commitment. As the man said eventually WI team will out grow Sammy. But for now he is just fine.

  • on May 4, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    Whatever his failings, he's obviously doing something right. This team is improving bit by bit which is more than can be said of previous teams with greater talents as captains.

  • Windies2Dheart on May 4, 2012, 1:28 GMT

    5 or so years ago, west indies had the likes of Gayle, Sarwan, Chanderpaul, DJ Bravo, Edwards, Taylor and samuels among other young talents. These names by themselves are world class players. There were times when Individuals put on great preformances. btl alas, the they never clicked as a team. Even though Sammy is not the most explosive bowler or batsman, his presence has always been evident on the team. He works with one of the most powerful philosophies that can be applied in team sports- that THE SUM OF THE WHOLE IS EXPONENTIALLY GREATER THAN ITS INDIVIDUAL PARTS. I always say that WI's problem is not a lack of talent. Its management of talent.

  • blackie on May 4, 2012, 0:30 GMT

    In cricket, unlike in some other sports, the role of the captain is vital. In a team with challenges, trying to re-emerge like Windies, the captain's role is critical. Sammy has been able with the help of Gibson (or vice versa) to start a culture of hard work, commitment and purpose in the Windies team. It is clearly a work in progress. If a team is not full of talent and/or experience, the next best qualities for being competitive are grit, hard work and a never-say-die attitude (Chanderpaul is a good example of that). A hard working team may not blast out the opposition for 100 but will chip away until all the opposition wickets are gone for maybe 250. A hardworking team may not always make 500 but will stick it out for about 300 or 350 on a regular basis. As those numbers show, if that team did that twice in a Test match, they will win. Thats what Sammy and Gibson are aiming for in the short/medium term. Its a lot better han we have now.

  • delboy on May 4, 2012, 0:19 GMT

    @Deryck there was a time when WI were not able to fit everyone in. Ask Colin Croft, he and others went to South Africa because they WANTED TO PLAY CRICKET at the highest level but were second string. Now we have a bunch who would just about cut it a club level let along make the international grade. WI do not strike me as a team going forward if the best opener its academy can produce aggregates 11 runs in 4 innings. Take a kid of the streets, put him through your high performance centre for 5 years and watch him go in reverse. I saw Shamrock Brooks in the UK 3 seasons ago; he guest for my club but since he returned to WI he seem to have forgotten the game completely but has excelled to lead Barbados possibly because he spent 4 months in the UK he is streets apart...

  • mrhamilton on May 3, 2012, 18:21 GMT

    @b4u8me2 despite the fact u present a superb counterargument to what i just said I actually agree with ur fundamental point.......Sammy needs to be in at number 6 and have 4 other bowlers....I dont feel there will be more pressure on him as captain. So far no 6s recently have failed....pollard looks very promising for the future but id like to see sammy at 6

  • on May 6, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    @ Vivek Anand Bravo is not pathetic he has just lost form due to frequent injuries & seems to be more comfortable in T20 leagues. Bravo has scored 2 centuries in Australia & has a batting average of 30+. Sammy on the other hand averages in the teens & has rarely looked like batting sensibly against any of the sides he has batted against. On top of that Sammy cannot be compared to Bravo in the field anymore. Bravo is an athletic ground fielder who normally saves runs & rarely drops catches unlike Sammy who has dropped @ least 1 catch especially off the fast bowlers in almost every match since he has become captain costing us more runs than he has made. If Bravo is fit & his mind is in the game I would have him in the Test team over Sammy any day. Russell is also a very good prospect & Gibson should focus on improving his skils as a bowler as he is already a better batsman & fielder than Sammy. Unfortunately maybe he too has been distracted by the $$ in T20 leagues.

  • on May 5, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    It is easy to make Sammy look good by comparing him to Dwayne Bravo since Bravo is pathetic. Compare him to the potential of someone like Andre Russell who is a much better batsman and potentially a good bowler. Russell seems like he would be capable of being a #6 test batsman / allrounder.

    The actual person whose place Sammy is taking up is Jerome Taylor who was developing into Windies' strike bowler and was looking like a good #8 batsman scoring a century in testing conditions in New Zealand.

    I don't agree with the person who says Sammy is the 4th bowler doing the containing job. He is bowling lesser and lesser number of overs these days. Watson is the 5th bowler for Australia and he seems to be much, much better.

    Ideal team should be Gayle, K Edwards, Sarwan, Darren Bravo, Chanderpaul, Russell, Ramdhin, Rampaul, Narine, Roach, Taylor or F Edwards - Simmons, Barath, Deonarine, Pollard, Shillingford, Bishoo to be part of the squad - Dwayne Bravo should not even be in the probables

  • sneeky55 on May 5, 2012, 0:21 GMT

    Fantastic finish to the article. Yes, the Windies, loaded with so much talent, will hopefully come to fulfill it eventually, meaning Sammy, who is a player with less talent, will be excluded. He will still be remembered as the player who brought about west Indies' revival.

  • on May 4, 2012, 23:06 GMT

    Guys grow up,,,there is no small island and big island anymore. We all read the same books, we go to the same universities, attend the same colleges..CFA's MBA, Work experience, Dr..etc. In fact St Lucia has two noble laureates and we are probably on track for another one. This 2012 .......grow up. You guys have no god given right to rule west indies cricket...please stop behaving like kids..Lets get behind the team.

  • on May 4, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    I really enjoyed this article especially the comparison of Dwayne, Russell & Sammy. I always wanted to know who were these better all-rounders some persons keep referring to. And the captain part, what do u thing of that? I always said what he lacks in ability, he makes up in character. This is a guy with a BIG heart & total commitment. As the man said eventually WI team will out grow Sammy. But for now he is just fine.

  • on May 4, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    Whatever his failings, he's obviously doing something right. This team is improving bit by bit which is more than can be said of previous teams with greater talents as captains.

  • Windies2Dheart on May 4, 2012, 1:28 GMT

    5 or so years ago, west indies had the likes of Gayle, Sarwan, Chanderpaul, DJ Bravo, Edwards, Taylor and samuels among other young talents. These names by themselves are world class players. There were times when Individuals put on great preformances. btl alas, the they never clicked as a team. Even though Sammy is not the most explosive bowler or batsman, his presence has always been evident on the team. He works with one of the most powerful philosophies that can be applied in team sports- that THE SUM OF THE WHOLE IS EXPONENTIALLY GREATER THAN ITS INDIVIDUAL PARTS. I always say that WI's problem is not a lack of talent. Its management of talent.

  • blackie on May 4, 2012, 0:30 GMT

    In cricket, unlike in some other sports, the role of the captain is vital. In a team with challenges, trying to re-emerge like Windies, the captain's role is critical. Sammy has been able with the help of Gibson (or vice versa) to start a culture of hard work, commitment and purpose in the Windies team. It is clearly a work in progress. If a team is not full of talent and/or experience, the next best qualities for being competitive are grit, hard work and a never-say-die attitude (Chanderpaul is a good example of that). A hard working team may not blast out the opposition for 100 but will chip away until all the opposition wickets are gone for maybe 250. A hardworking team may not always make 500 but will stick it out for about 300 or 350 on a regular basis. As those numbers show, if that team did that twice in a Test match, they will win. Thats what Sammy and Gibson are aiming for in the short/medium term. Its a lot better han we have now.

  • delboy on May 4, 2012, 0:19 GMT

    @Deryck there was a time when WI were not able to fit everyone in. Ask Colin Croft, he and others went to South Africa because they WANTED TO PLAY CRICKET at the highest level but were second string. Now we have a bunch who would just about cut it a club level let along make the international grade. WI do not strike me as a team going forward if the best opener its academy can produce aggregates 11 runs in 4 innings. Take a kid of the streets, put him through your high performance centre for 5 years and watch him go in reverse. I saw Shamrock Brooks in the UK 3 seasons ago; he guest for my club but since he returned to WI he seem to have forgotten the game completely but has excelled to lead Barbados possibly because he spent 4 months in the UK he is streets apart...

  • mrhamilton on May 3, 2012, 18:21 GMT

    @b4u8me2 despite the fact u present a superb counterargument to what i just said I actually agree with ur fundamental point.......Sammy needs to be in at number 6 and have 4 other bowlers....I dont feel there will be more pressure on him as captain. So far no 6s recently have failed....pollard looks very promising for the future but id like to see sammy at 6

  • mrhamilton on May 3, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    Its a well written article about that most enigmatic of questions--darren sammy saint? or darren sammy antichrist? lol i exaggerate but it does seem Sammy is for me one of the first names i want in this windian team. He is improving and has the look of a leader. His bowling may not be quick but he is penetrative. Im sure his bowling would be appreciated by a walsh, ambrose or marshall at the other end as he applies steady pressure. I think he will prosper with the ball in england and as a south african cant wait. Windian cricket under sammy has made me interested again in this team that i first saw in 1984 england.

  • king_kenie on May 3, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    Who do we give glory to for the resurgent West Indies seemingly spirited fights? Is it Sammy or is it Otis. While Sammy is no short on fight all too often his on field leadership lacks initiative and commonsense. The tie ODI game with Australia was West Indies to loose, the situation called for leadership, the captain was at the crease and poof! the match is a tie. His insistence on placing himself in the slips is pathetic. He continues to drop the easy catches and that knocks the wind out of any bowlers sail. In the last test series against the Ausies we needed two spinners in the team not a third seamier... even the Ausies recognized that and played two. What did the West Indians do? They drop one for the other. Even if Bishoo was too expensive in the first test you had Miller, Kantasingh, Brown and a host of others to choose from. Sammy is definitely the man for the moment but I would love to see some improvement in his batting and some winning decisions made.

  • truguynese on May 3, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    Pick the best eleven available, and surely one of them will have the ability and quality to captain the side. Comparing the records of the captains should be dependent on the players he is given. If it was ten men and a captain, then surely I would be in the running for captain. Read the post by Rally_windies, that explains why Sammy should not be in the first eleven.

  • on May 3, 2012, 11:06 GMT

    @Deryck,thank goodness for your objectivity,the persons here blowing their holes and spewing such unobjective comments NEEDS to look at the present circumstances,it is as simple as that.

  • on May 3, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    I think the basic problem is that we have to pick the team that's available.Regarding Sammy, there really is no other choice as captain (Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, never available). And there's no doubt Sammy's doing the best he can. Regarding the batting, there may be better batsmen in the West Indies, but for one reason or another, they're not available (Gayle, Sarwan, Nash, ...). Same with the bowlers, (Taylor, Narine, Dwayne Bravo ...). We can't pick the best team, so we'll have to make do with what's available.

  • Phat-Boy on May 3, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    It's funny reading some of the things on here. I read one person say that teams can't rely on just three strike bowlers. Seemed to work for South Africa for a long time having 3 decent quicks and then Harris who's role was widely accepted as keeping runs down and contributing a bit with the bat. But hey, Sammy's bowling AND batting figures are better than Harris' so let's not compare those two.

    Then I read someone saying that Sammy is playing as a strike bowler compared to Bravo who is an all-rounder. So which is it, is he a fourth specialist bowler who bats a bit, or is he a supposed strike bowler? The people bagging him can't even get their arguments on the same page.

    Then to further complicate things, the same people criticising him for 'not being good enough' then have the hide to criticise him for not bowling himself against rampaging batsmen. If he's such a bad bowler, why on earth SHOULD he bowl himself in the power-plays?

    Keep going Sammy, you're doing a good job.

  • b4u8me2 on May 3, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    Garth is comparing Sammy, who plays as a strike bowler, with Bravo who plays as a batting all rounder.

  • b4u8me2 on May 3, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    If we should continue to follow the logic of Sammy's supporters then that logic will lead us to say that Deonarine who took 9 wickets at an average of 21.55, and was the 3rd most successful W.I. bowler behind Roach and Shillingford, should now be one of W.I. leading strike bowlers and occupy one of the four slots for bowlers. Truth is that Deonarine, as an allrounder and part time bowler did what he was suppose to do. This is the role Sammy should be playing. Sammy should not be one of the 4 strike bowlers because he is not a strike bowler!!! He cannot force batsmen out. That is the plan fact. I have always said if Sammy is gonna play he needs to occupy that number 6 spot and start making some runs and support the 4 main bowlers. This is what Deonarine has done and this is what Sammy should be doing. Had Rampaul been fit, Roach would have been the one on the bench to accommodate Sammy into the 4. That is ridiculous!!!! Sammy needs to play the role Deonarine plays or sit out.

  • on May 3, 2012, 1:53 GMT

    Here we go again,so let me ask the doubters,if not Sammy in the interim,then who,pray tell?,we have heard your arguments and cries,but logically,at this juncture of time WHO?.None of the openers can be made captain,maybe it is a bit of a burden on Kirk Edwards and for sure on Daren Bravo which can negatively affect their batting,CERTAINLY NOT Marlon Samuels as he is hardly ever available or any of the younger middle order batsmen.You cant give it to any of the bowlers and dont forget Chanderpaul had stated after his last stint as captain,he DOES NOT want it again,he wants to concentrate on this batting.This leaves only one man,the man being groomed for long term captaincy,Denish Ramdin,but previously he was out of the team due to poor form and recently he has been injury prone.Outside of those candidates,who on this green earth will you give the captaincy to at THE PRESENT MOMENT under the present circumstances????,since Sammy is an issue for some of you peoples.

  • on May 2, 2012, 21:50 GMT

    Somebody said Sammy hid from Sehwag's flashing blade which is probably true. As the author correctly points out, the man knows his limitations and never pretends to be a Marshall or Holding. Remember though that Gayle hid from the Lankan Vaas and the great Brian Lara dropped himself in the order too to avoid a rampaging Harmison. In the beginning when Sammy was appointed captain, I along with many Caribfans, was against it because the thought was that he hadn't earned his place in the team. I still hold that view. But now he's captain and we have to accept that fact and support him and the team if we're loyal WI fans. Sammy will never go down as a great WI player as someone here incorrectly opine. However, he's improving and must be given full credit for effort. The team is responding too, still not where we'd like them to be but playing better/harder. They just need to convert those winning sessions to victories. I'm with the men in the maroon caps until the Lord calls me home.Go WI.

  • Ditej on May 2, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    I agree with Garth. I have been following Windies Cricket and their downfall....and i consider their condition much worse than even Zimbabwe because of the glory they had in past... Surely Sammy will never be considered a potent replacement for any legend but on the other hand he doesn't have much resources...The top order of the team is too too weak... middle order is Average and tail doesn't do wonders any time...I have seen Sammy this recent series and trust me..he has given the Australians some Headache..Moreover..i still think he will be one of the greats of Windies cricket because he is still doing reasonable well with the current broken average team...And I am damn sure that he will take this team to a certain level before finishing his career...I also believe that he is not getting dropped because he is constantly working hard and raising the level of his game as demonstrated by his performances recently..He is no Sachin who is Gifted..he is a man who works hard and tries hard.

  • Rally_Windies on May 2, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    a carefully constructed argument comparing Sammy's Highlights to the Lows of other players ...

    should you compare Sammy's Highlights to the Highlights of the same players Sammy would be found wanting .....

    Should you even mention Sammy's lowlights it would be alarming ..... and embarrassing ....

    no mention of the number of IMPORTANT dropped catches that have turned wins into losses and draws ....

    and Zero mention of his POOR decisions as captain ..

    eg.... bowling Pollard at a Rampaging Sewhag when he had only 4 overs in the game (no doubt waiting for Sehwag's dismissal to bowl himself)

    No mention that Sammy since becoming Captain has never bowled in a Power Play .No mention that Pollard has a heavier bowling load than Sammy in ODI's..as though Pollard is a strike Bowler ..

    Sammy's best is Mediocre.. and barely better than Horrible performances from Bravo and Russell and comparing him to Rampaul is ridiculous, Rampaul plays 1/2 as many games and still is head to head on wickets

  • inot on May 2, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    The truth about Sammy is that he is not good enough for automatic selection on any WI team. He is a decent ODI player and should complete with Russel, Bravo etc for a spot on that team. On the test team he takes up a valuable spot that weakens the bowling attack. His gentle medium pace bowling is not suited to all conditions. When he plays one of specialist bowlers has to sit and that creates an imbalance in the attack and increases the work load of the 3 other bowlers. His batting is not good enough to replace a batsman and add a bowler. No other test team plays with only 3 specialist bowlers....and Sammy is just not good enough as a batsman, a bowler or an allrounder to occupy an automatic spot even on this weak WI team.

  • on May 2, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    I agree with this article. The WI team has been through far worst. What I would like to see from the team is more improvement from all fronts. The bowling is really coming along well but the batting still flustering. If we can get good batting at the top our middle and lower order can hold forth. As for Sammy he's taken on a job and showing that if you can contribute what is expected of you and more and bring out the best in those around you success can be achieve. But the WI climb is still a long way up, but the team will survive, players come and players go and WI cricket still will be the best.

  • on May 2, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    Garth I have not paid much attention to your post in the past but, I must say your deep and thoughtful account of Sammy is so heart warming. You have done your research, you have seen Sammy performed, you have read, you have compared him with the other captains and other all rounders. Brilliant!!! Sammy deserves a part on the back. No matter how hard he plays or what he does there are always more people criticizing him and calling for his removal. How sad. Garth, thanks for lifting Sammy up at a time when he needs it the most. To compare him to Christ, Sammy has been knock down once too many by his own people and he needed someone to stand up for him, to defend him to help him carry is cross of leading WI Cricket team. Before he is replaced he will see the victory on the cricket field to keep the critics quiet. The man is humble, he works hard and lead his men well. The Lord is not sleeping he sees all things and will reward him. God bless Sammy!

  • AvidFanDownUnder on May 2, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    When Sammy was first given the captaincy I wondered who was foolish enough to select him as captain. Two years later however I believe he is the best captain for the moment. True Sammy will never achieve the heights of the past WI greats (Sobers, Lloyd, Sir Richards, etc) however he also doesn't have a battery of tall, fast pacemen and destructive batsmen at his beck and call. With greater experience and some luck, the team he has (Bharat, Braitwaite, Edwards, Roach, Powell, Edwards, Bishoo, Narine, Bravo are all exciting prospects who have already proven but still have a lot to improve) will come good and in years to come Sammy will be looked upon as the catalyst that brought cricket out of the doldrums for the West Indies. If Gayle was fit and willing to play, I wouldn't have any issues slotting him back into the team but I would always choose Sammy as my no 1 captain for WI and put Gayle after him. Well done to Sammy, Chanderpaul and Gibson for bringing WI to this level again.

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  • AvidFanDownUnder on May 2, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    When Sammy was first given the captaincy I wondered who was foolish enough to select him as captain. Two years later however I believe he is the best captain for the moment. True Sammy will never achieve the heights of the past WI greats (Sobers, Lloyd, Sir Richards, etc) however he also doesn't have a battery of tall, fast pacemen and destructive batsmen at his beck and call. With greater experience and some luck, the team he has (Bharat, Braitwaite, Edwards, Roach, Powell, Edwards, Bishoo, Narine, Bravo are all exciting prospects who have already proven but still have a lot to improve) will come good and in years to come Sammy will be looked upon as the catalyst that brought cricket out of the doldrums for the West Indies. If Gayle was fit and willing to play, I wouldn't have any issues slotting him back into the team but I would always choose Sammy as my no 1 captain for WI and put Gayle after him. Well done to Sammy, Chanderpaul and Gibson for bringing WI to this level again.

  • on May 2, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    Garth I have not paid much attention to your post in the past but, I must say your deep and thoughtful account of Sammy is so heart warming. You have done your research, you have seen Sammy performed, you have read, you have compared him with the other captains and other all rounders. Brilliant!!! Sammy deserves a part on the back. No matter how hard he plays or what he does there are always more people criticizing him and calling for his removal. How sad. Garth, thanks for lifting Sammy up at a time when he needs it the most. To compare him to Christ, Sammy has been knock down once too many by his own people and he needed someone to stand up for him, to defend him to help him carry is cross of leading WI Cricket team. Before he is replaced he will see the victory on the cricket field to keep the critics quiet. The man is humble, he works hard and lead his men well. The Lord is not sleeping he sees all things and will reward him. God bless Sammy!

  • on May 2, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    I agree with this article. The WI team has been through far worst. What I would like to see from the team is more improvement from all fronts. The bowling is really coming along well but the batting still flustering. If we can get good batting at the top our middle and lower order can hold forth. As for Sammy he's taken on a job and showing that if you can contribute what is expected of you and more and bring out the best in those around you success can be achieve. But the WI climb is still a long way up, but the team will survive, players come and players go and WI cricket still will be the best.

  • inot on May 2, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    The truth about Sammy is that he is not good enough for automatic selection on any WI team. He is a decent ODI player and should complete with Russel, Bravo etc for a spot on that team. On the test team he takes up a valuable spot that weakens the bowling attack. His gentle medium pace bowling is not suited to all conditions. When he plays one of specialist bowlers has to sit and that creates an imbalance in the attack and increases the work load of the 3 other bowlers. His batting is not good enough to replace a batsman and add a bowler. No other test team plays with only 3 specialist bowlers....and Sammy is just not good enough as a batsman, a bowler or an allrounder to occupy an automatic spot even on this weak WI team.

  • Rally_Windies on May 2, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    a carefully constructed argument comparing Sammy's Highlights to the Lows of other players ...

    should you compare Sammy's Highlights to the Highlights of the same players Sammy would be found wanting .....

    Should you even mention Sammy's lowlights it would be alarming ..... and embarrassing ....

    no mention of the number of IMPORTANT dropped catches that have turned wins into losses and draws ....

    and Zero mention of his POOR decisions as captain ..

    eg.... bowling Pollard at a Rampaging Sewhag when he had only 4 overs in the game (no doubt waiting for Sehwag's dismissal to bowl himself)

    No mention that Sammy since becoming Captain has never bowled in a Power Play .No mention that Pollard has a heavier bowling load than Sammy in ODI's..as though Pollard is a strike Bowler ..

    Sammy's best is Mediocre.. and barely better than Horrible performances from Bravo and Russell and comparing him to Rampaul is ridiculous, Rampaul plays 1/2 as many games and still is head to head on wickets

  • Ditej on May 2, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    I agree with Garth. I have been following Windies Cricket and their downfall....and i consider their condition much worse than even Zimbabwe because of the glory they had in past... Surely Sammy will never be considered a potent replacement for any legend but on the other hand he doesn't have much resources...The top order of the team is too too weak... middle order is Average and tail doesn't do wonders any time...I have seen Sammy this recent series and trust me..he has given the Australians some Headache..Moreover..i still think he will be one of the greats of Windies cricket because he is still doing reasonable well with the current broken average team...And I am damn sure that he will take this team to a certain level before finishing his career...I also believe that he is not getting dropped because he is constantly working hard and raising the level of his game as demonstrated by his performances recently..He is no Sachin who is Gifted..he is a man who works hard and tries hard.

  • on May 2, 2012, 21:50 GMT

    Somebody said Sammy hid from Sehwag's flashing blade which is probably true. As the author correctly points out, the man knows his limitations and never pretends to be a Marshall or Holding. Remember though that Gayle hid from the Lankan Vaas and the great Brian Lara dropped himself in the order too to avoid a rampaging Harmison. In the beginning when Sammy was appointed captain, I along with many Caribfans, was against it because the thought was that he hadn't earned his place in the team. I still hold that view. But now he's captain and we have to accept that fact and support him and the team if we're loyal WI fans. Sammy will never go down as a great WI player as someone here incorrectly opine. However, he's improving and must be given full credit for effort. The team is responding too, still not where we'd like them to be but playing better/harder. They just need to convert those winning sessions to victories. I'm with the men in the maroon caps until the Lord calls me home.Go WI.

  • on May 3, 2012, 1:53 GMT

    Here we go again,so let me ask the doubters,if not Sammy in the interim,then who,pray tell?,we have heard your arguments and cries,but logically,at this juncture of time WHO?.None of the openers can be made captain,maybe it is a bit of a burden on Kirk Edwards and for sure on Daren Bravo which can negatively affect their batting,CERTAINLY NOT Marlon Samuels as he is hardly ever available or any of the younger middle order batsmen.You cant give it to any of the bowlers and dont forget Chanderpaul had stated after his last stint as captain,he DOES NOT want it again,he wants to concentrate on this batting.This leaves only one man,the man being groomed for long term captaincy,Denish Ramdin,but previously he was out of the team due to poor form and recently he has been injury prone.Outside of those candidates,who on this green earth will you give the captaincy to at THE PRESENT MOMENT under the present circumstances????,since Sammy is an issue for some of you peoples.

  • b4u8me2 on May 3, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    If we should continue to follow the logic of Sammy's supporters then that logic will lead us to say that Deonarine who took 9 wickets at an average of 21.55, and was the 3rd most successful W.I. bowler behind Roach and Shillingford, should now be one of W.I. leading strike bowlers and occupy one of the four slots for bowlers. Truth is that Deonarine, as an allrounder and part time bowler did what he was suppose to do. This is the role Sammy should be playing. Sammy should not be one of the 4 strike bowlers because he is not a strike bowler!!! He cannot force batsmen out. That is the plan fact. I have always said if Sammy is gonna play he needs to occupy that number 6 spot and start making some runs and support the 4 main bowlers. This is what Deonarine has done and this is what Sammy should be doing. Had Rampaul been fit, Roach would have been the one on the bench to accommodate Sammy into the 4. That is ridiculous!!!! Sammy needs to play the role Deonarine plays or sit out.

  • b4u8me2 on May 3, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    Garth is comparing Sammy, who plays as a strike bowler, with Bravo who plays as a batting all rounder.