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Snappy Q&As with the players

Darren Sammy

'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?

Interview by Nagraj Gollapudi

Comments: 45 | Text size: A | A
Darren Sammy celebrates MS Dhoni's wicket, India v West Indies, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 4th day, November 25, 2011
Darren Sammy: is something like the fastest man on earth even though he's too scared to run 100 metres © Associated Press
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Players/Officials: Darren Sammy
Series/Tournaments: West Indies tour of England
Teams: West Indies

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.

Darren Sammy and the West Indian team salute the crowd for their support, West Indies v India, 3rd Test, Dominica, 5th day, July 10, 2011
"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" © Associated Press

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

Tell us what you think. Send us your feedback

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Comments: 45 
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Posted by 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 .

Posted by 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

Posted by 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

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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!

Posted by 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

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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!!

Posted by Karandeep on (May 8, 2012, 3:53 GMT)

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

Posted by 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

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 22:19 GMT)

I try to "leave" everything out there, Nagraj.

Posted by Praveen on (May 7, 2012, 21:47 GMT)

Seems like a cool guy. This is the funniest thing I have heard though -- "I can't say no. Maybe that is why I get run out. " Still cant stop laughing.

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 21:12 GMT)

Darren Sammy often reminds me off Robin Singh who played for India. He was much less talented than Sammy is but had a great attitude just like him. Players like him may not be the most gifted or exciting as some of their fellow team mates but they always always make sure they exceed the boundaries of their talents with passion and determination. I may love watching the Gayles and Tendulkars . But when it comes to respect these guys earn as much respect or even more because even though they may not play the best shot or bowl best delivery they would fight with every bit of energy they ve got. That is what i want to watch in a cricket match that passion and energy.

Posted by Hayat on (May 7, 2012, 20:07 GMT)

Sammy is indeed an asset for WI cricket. Someone who puts national responsibility over monetary enrichment. Having said that I believe that one of the positive spin offs of IPL towards WI cricket in the long run would be that it would make the youngsters enamoured with basketball and other to give a second chance to cricket. The sight of millionaires like Narine and some others, who have hardly played any cricket until now, would be a strong incentive in this age of instant gratification, and hopefully that emerging talent could then be harnessed towards attritional skill expected of the longer formats. Perhaps IPL or t20 club cricket is cricket's way of fighting and redefining itself in the 21st century. There is always a silver lining to a dark cloud.

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 19:42 GMT)

How could anyone criticise this guy? He wears his heart on his sleeve and the WI seem to be playing better with the limited resources they currently have. He's not the best player in the world but he picks up wickets at the right time and gives the ball a smack from number 8. If more people played competitive sport with such a big grin on their face, then the world would be a better place. He's also playing for WI and not trying to earn big bucks in India. If WI had a full squad of all available players, a better cricket board and Sammy as leader, they'd be doing even better. That's my opinion. Bye!

Posted by stuart on (May 7, 2012, 18:41 GMT)

Lets face it the Windies are getting much better with him leading them and there seems to be a bit of cohesion for them at last.

Posted by Rajesh on (May 7, 2012, 17:39 GMT)

He has made good money to gift his mom a Corolla. That is far beyond what is talent could have achieved. Good for him. He has born in the right place at the right time. Were he born 20 years earlier, we all know what he would have been. Good that he put Punter in place- he deserves it. All the best sammy. Buy your Mom a BMW for her 52nd Birthday- Otis and WICB are helping you towards it. But there is a Gayle storm on the way- beware of it.

Posted by mervin on (May 7, 2012, 17:27 GMT)

Best of luck on this tour sammy,wishing you good consistent performances.

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

For all the ends and bits and not being able to fill a stadium player,he has more heart,guts and commitment than some of the so called stars or percieved stars.

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 16:56 GMT)

What I know is that this guy has the heart of a lion & never says die. His mum has done a fine job & deserves what ever he gives her.

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 16:35 GMT)

darren sammy is the most down to earth pleasant cricket i ever came across...he approaches the fans before they could approach him, a nice guy, really

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 16:21 GMT)

The game of Cricket needs lots of Sammys..

Posted by Rakesh on (May 7, 2012, 16:19 GMT)

sammy is good cricket for the One day and the 20/20 but I would not have him in the test side, I don't think he can take wickets nd score runs consistently,He is a Bits and pieces player.

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

Anybody who believes in God got my vote...

Posted by Subash on (May 7, 2012, 15:21 GMT)

I like him. This guy is avery funny maan. He brings excitement energy and i like the way he sticked it to Punter. Mr. Punter no use getting angry as 'What goes around comes around'..Well Done Sammy Good luck to you and the WI team in ENG as the world cricket needs a strong WI team. I am sure you guys will provide a more exciting series with ENG than we did (pathetic one-sided) I will watch the series.

Posted by Faizan on (May 7, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

Darren Sammy is my favourite cricketer. Goodness is written on his face. Very nice human being and a very good allrounder. A hard hitting batsman and a bowler with a nagging line and length, he is what West Indies cricket needs. I will always support Darren Sammy, performing or not performing. Hope he stays humble forever. I hope West Indies win all of their matches on the tour of England and that Sammy performs in every match. This is coming from Sammy's number 1 PAKISTANI fan.

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

does this mean his mom had him at 15? He bought her a car for her 42nd birthday in 2011 when he would have been 27

Posted by Ian on (May 7, 2012, 12:25 GMT)

Despite having quite a bad start, Sammy is the sort of captain who grows and grows on you as you get to know him better. A big part of it is, of course, how he leads on the field and the pride he's restored to the West Indian team, but his personality is quite irresistible. Maybe it's not just coincidence too...

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 12:07 GMT)

This is so funny...really cracking me up..."Oh my god, he is going to finish his career like Muhammad Ali". Behind you all the way SAMMY...so keep on doing what you are doing.

Posted by vishal on (May 7, 2012, 11:36 GMT)

@ Meety point to be noted.....

Posted by Amjad on (May 7, 2012, 11:23 GMT)

Sammy, one of the most selfless guys around in world cricket these days. Captaining a national side is an honour and a huge responsibility at the same time. Of course WI had better players in Gayle and Chanders. Not so sure about chanders but Gayle never wanted to do anything with captaincy or WI cricket for that matter. A captain has to have abilities with either ball or bat but in WI's case he has to be willing to take up the responsibility first. Sammy is the perfect guy for WI for the time being.

Posted by Alistair on (May 7, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

Can't imagine Chris Gayle praying before every match...

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 8:51 GMT)

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

Posted by Nathan on (May 7, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

Nice interview, Sammy comes across as a really good guy. I hope he can restore WI to some of their former glory.

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 7:52 GMT)

he is really funny person , always love to make fun, of course in positive ways.

Posted by Andrew on (May 7, 2012, 7:31 GMT)

Wow his Mum turned 42 in the last year or two & he is 28 now! Anyways - I like the guy (Sammy), he needs to do more with the bat to justify the allrounder tag, his bowling is statistically good. Wish him the best.

Posted by Satish on (May 7, 2012, 7:06 GMT)

Well.. The interview(though not a complete one) shows the kind of man Sammy is.. He is intelligent, confident, leader and more importantly, knows when to keep himself off the guard.. It is not always, i am lesser or i am superior.. Usain Bolt - I am same as him in passion!! Dance and run 100m, I am not that good! WI had some golden runs before in Champions trophy twice before but lost way very soon.. Now, they again started to rise hopes and seriously wish that they sustain their new stature to something high which would make their longtime loyal fans happier..

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 6:40 GMT)

Not the most talented guy but I think he has what it takes to captain a team. Nice guy.

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

stay focussed and lead the team to the dream of everybody to be on top of the crop

Posted by Arvind on (May 7, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

good luck for the england tour. best wishes from india.

Posted by Vinod on (May 7, 2012, 5:55 GMT)

another delightful cricketer to watch. he was very impressive during india tour. looking at him, you get an idea of what he is. he has to spend a bit more time with the bat. if he does that, its more pleasure. there is a lot of positive energy in him, it seems.

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 7, 2012, 5:53 GMT)

Everyone has their opinions on Sammy as a cricketer but you cannot doubt the mans spirit. One of my favorite sportsman.

Posted by Andrew on (May 7, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

Excellent interview. Sounds like the right man for the Captaincy.

Posted by Rahul on (May 7, 2012, 4:45 GMT)

Sammy is the best thing that could have happened to WI cricket recently. At last a WILLING LEADER has arrived for the WI.

Posted by Prashan on (May 7, 2012, 4:37 GMT)

Oh Sammy, you are one of my favorite cricketers due to your power hitting, but you must try to convert your 30s into 50s and even centuries ideally! Looking forward to a blistering innings from you in England!

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