Darren Sammy May 7, 2012

'I'm a proud mama's boy'

The West Indies captain loves his mum, buys her expensive gifts, and hopes she won't hear him swear too much. And did you know he's afraid of flying?

What did watching Fire in Babylon teach you?
It is very inspirational. When I first watched the film, it made me even more aware of what cricket is to the West Indian people. It opened my eyes.

Your coach Ottis Gibson is not confident you can last five days in a Test?
The coach was just being funny. It would be good if we take the Tests to four days - at least then the people will get their money's worth.

This team has faced a lot of challenges in the last few years I have been captain, but somehow we find a way to overcome the challenges.

Tell us a secret.
I am afraid of flying. You should ask the guys when the plane is taking off or landing or going through turbulent weather. I am screaming like a girl, man.

Is it true that you never swear?
That is not true at all. Sometimes you just can't help it. But my mom would be very disappointed if I swear all the time, because I was not raised like that.

So you are a mama's boy?
I am. I am a proud mama's boy.

What is the best gift you bought her?
For her 42nd birthday I bought her a brand new Toyota Corolla, 2011 model. I was away on tour, but I had the dealer deliver it with bows and ribbons and stuff, saying "Happy Birthday to the best mom in the world." My mom was at church. When she came back, the car arrived. She broke down in tears. My father even videotaped it so I could catch up with all the emotions and celebrations.

Are you religious?
I am very religious. I was brought up in a Seventh Day Adventist background. I wanted to be a pastor growing up. I was very good at it, actually, but cricket came up and I did not look back.

What happens if an atheist walks into the dressing room?
We have a culture of: whatever we do we include god in it. We are a praying team. But we will not force anything if anyone wants to sit out. But most people in the Caribbean, boys go with their moms on a Saturday or a Sunday to the church, and that is predominantly the culture there.

"Once you listen to Caribbean music, you got to move it, maan! Once I feel the music, I got to dance"

We hear you are very good at dancing.
I can shake a leg, even if I am not the best dancer in the dressing room. Coming from the Caribbean, we have a good history of reggae and dance. Once you listen to Caribbean music, you got to move it, maan! Once I feel the music, I got to dance. I know there is a show called Dancing With the Stars. If St Lucia had its own programme, I would be the first one to participate. My son, Darren Dan Sammy Jr, is a better dancer than me.

What's the best dish to eat when in the Caribbean?
If it is St Lucia, it is green fig and salt fish. If you go to Barbados, you got to try the flying fish. In Jamaica go to Courtney Walsh's restaurant, Cuddy'z, where you've got to try the steam fish.

What is the fastest you have timed yourself at running 100 metres?
I was too afraid of losing, so I never ran 100 metres.

Have you ever met Usain Bolt?
Yes, I met Usain recently when we played in Jamaica and he came in to the dressing room. He is quite a funny guy as well. I kind of see a little bit of myself in him: just the way he carries himself, he looks like he is enjoying what he is doing. You can see the passion when he runs and in his celebrations. It is like me when I go out on the cricket field. I try to live everything out there.

Are you better at celebrations than him?
We are in two different sports and we have different styles of celebrations, but we get the same reactions from the fans. In the West Indies dressing room, there is no lack of people when it comes to celebrations: Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell are all good.

You seemed to have decided on when Ricky Ponting's last Test would be, recently. (Ponting told Sammy in their last Test that Gayle should have been captain. Sammy replied with: "This is your last Test")
From the start of the series we had decided we are not going to back down if they sledge. And from the very first game in St Vincent, they were giving us a lot. But we stuck it up to them. I remember Kieron Pollard, before he left for the IPL, told me we need to stay strong in the Test series. I know Ponting was going through a difficult phase, just like me, and was not scoring runs. So we felt it was a good opportunity to stick that line up, and he got angry, actually. I remember two balls before I caught him at leg gully, he gloved the ball. I said, "Oh my god, he is going to finish his career like Muhammad Ali." The next ball, he once again gloved. I said, "There you go", and repeated the Ali line. He stared back at me, angrily. But at the end of the series they invited me for a drink, and it was good fun.

What is one weakness you have?
I can't say no. Maybe that is why I get run out.

Are you talkative?
I am a friendly guy. I talk to everybody.

What is the best compliment you've got from a West Indies fan?
There is a song in the Caribbean that runs along the lines "Keep on doing what you doing, Sammy" and fans keep singing it to me. I enjoy that. But the best compliment came from a lady recently. She said, "I know what you are going through is tough but the majority is silent. We are all behind you. Keep on doing what you are doing." When I hear stuff like that, it gives me hope.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 9, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    Sammy you are not just a mama's BOY you are also Hilaier and Gibson BOY. Guys Sammy is not a" LEADER" Leaders are persons who comes up with there own ideas and get others to execute it. What I saw most of the time on the field of play Sammy Captaincy look very script. There is no dout that Sammy is the best person for the job base on the personals that are running the WI cricket administration. The captains before who want to be a part of the process was seen as controversial by the guys who sit at the top of the administration .

  • Sam` on May 9, 2012, 1:39 GMT

    Winston. I understand that the situation with Gayle wasn't solely his fault. However can you please tell me why picking a talented player but one who has, repeatedly, shown that he values money and having a good time just as much as he values playing for the West Indies, would benefit the team? You could put Don Bradman in a side but if he didn't really care that much about how they went results wise, it wouldn't benefit them in the long run would it. Gayle came to Australia last summer and tore the Big Bash apart. And do you know how his team went? Badly.

    New Zealand's performance in one-day cricket over the last 20 years highlights the fact that a united team of triers can almost always match a team of talented but bickering players. Australia has been lucky enough to have talent and unity, but sometimes you can't have both.

    I for one would rather see a West Indies team being consistently competitive but losing than one who gets flogged a lot but shows occasional brilliance

  • Dummy4 on May 9, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    sammy problem is that he is not consistent with the bat and also he dont have confidence in all his players and also he is not a vreative captain as he should be look at how we lost those 2 matches and u will see the mistakes he made 1 of the things that makes u a good leader it knowing your opponent weakness it is a known fact that the aussies dont play spin too good but he persist whit pace when he had 2 spinners that he didnt employ for no long period in both matches whereby the tailenders put on over 100 runs in the 4rth innings i n both matches and those were the errors that cost us both matches he has been the captain for too long not to be able to recgnise your opponent weakness and capatialize on it getting the players together is good but at the end of the day results is what count also we have to get a wicket keeper that can bat on a consistent basis no team is going to win any test series with batsmen ever on a consistent basis all other teams have batting to number 7

  • Dummy4 on May 8, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    The fallacy of a lot of the comments is that "he is doing the best that he can with limited skills and an aimless bunch of players". Well the fact of the matter the Windies SHOULD NOT BE LIMITED TO AIMLESS PLAYERS AND A CAPTAIN WITH LIMITED SKILLS, when there are others around. The CEO, in his usual interfering manner told the selectors to pick the best 11 and not the 11 best available. Add the silly recent comments that "we are now competing and games are going to 5-days instead of 3 or 4 days" and everyone should fully understand why the team's performance is average at best. If the administrators of Windies cricket become devoid of vindictivenesss and malice, then we will start to se the best available players being selected, and not ones based on favouritism or their country of birth. Then the innuendo being banded about should cease.

  • Dummy4 on May 8, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    Oniel a great attitude can be contageous.confidence is the first step to victory. there is no doubt that the players rally around their captain. great recipy for success. there difference in the team is clear. for your information when Clive Lloyd was named captain of the West INdies team, there are many who though he was not good enough to make the team. in fact shortly before that he ahad been dropped and it took the latr Forbes Burnham to bring him back from Australia ( he actually joined a regional match late )to play a territorial match. he scored heavily and was selected.

    there is a lot more to leadership than the ability to bat and bowl. leaders are there to lead, motivate, and bring out the best oftheeir charges. keep on doing Sammy!

  • Dummy4 on May 8, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    Honestly i really can't see him as what is needed for west Indies right now. Lets face it a great attitude alone cannot win matches. Sammy has no more talent as a captain than any of his predecessors. fact is his on- field decisions are not special. His decision making with the bat is poor, especially in a test match. In short its not something that would inspire a team. in a test match with runs needed there is no west Indian fan the will feel confident if Darren comes in to bat. of truth he has look better in the last series but thats one series, how easily we forget. his bowling is the best part of his game. but is he really the best all-rounder we have. note that different all-rounder are suitable for different formats of the game. Like i said before great guy but not necessarily great for west Indies

  • wayne on May 8, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    thanks for the insightful comments muski. from what i can see, Sammy has earned his spot in the side and whether he's a WICB man (as you imply) or not, he's done what no-one has been able to do for the last 15 years in the West Indies: take a bunch of talented but aimless individuals and brought them together as a competitive team with a positive attitude and an understanding of their shared goal - no mean feat. you ask me, he's earned the right to spoil his mum. keep it up Darren, the West Indies needs a guy like you.

  • Alex on May 8, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    He really is what Windies need right now. He would have been a joke as a captain 20-30 years ago when our cricket was strong and there was pride to play for Windies etc. In these days following the eras of Lara, Hooper,Gayle and co and their indivisualism, materialism and indiscilpilne, we need a man like Sammy who is trying to bring Windies cricket back to where a professional sports TEAM ought to be. True Windies fans wish you the best boss. Keep up the good work!!

  • Karandeep on May 8, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    He is better for WI than what R Jadeja is for India.

  • venkat on May 8, 2012, 2:33 GMT

    Nice interview..Cricket needs West indies back , Please do something(With or without Gayle) and bring them back to their olden days..All the best for England Tour

  • No featured comments at the moment.