Sammy 'surprised' at Shillingford report
Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain, has added his support to troubled offspinner Shane Shillingford who has been reported for a suspect action following the first Test against Sri Lanka. Both Sammy and the coach Ottis Gibson have indicated Shillingford will be retained for the second match despite the cloud over him.
"I am surprised. We have been informed by the match referee and other people who made that decision," said Sammy. "It's beyond our control. We are just supporting Shane and helping him along to come through the second Test. I am not in a position to talk on that subject at the moment. But what I can tell you is that Shane will be getting the full support of all the squad members and the coaching staff."
Sammy denied that Shillingford was under extra pressure going into the second Test. "We did a lot of good things in the last Test and Shane was part of the good things that we did. We are just looking to give our full support and help him along in the second Test."
Sammy, who took over the captaincy from Chris Gayle, wants his team to build on the positive performance in Galle where they had Sri Lanka under pressure throughout the match. "When we left the Caribbean we said that we are going to Sri Lanka to compete and restore pride of Caribbean cricket. We did that in the last Test. Right now it's all about being consistent and improving on our performances.
"Like in the first Test our preparations were limited. The opportunities we got indoors we made full use of. The areas we can improve are doing well in middle-order. Although the middle-order collapsed still we went onto score 580 runs. We just have to keep improving. The middle-order is one area we can improve. We came here with a winning mindset and we need to improve on a few things," he said.
The suggestion is that West Indies will employ a twin-spin attack in Colombo with Sulieman Benn, who is available again after suspension, being recalled to partner Shillingford. "When we meet at a selection committee we'll look at the balance of the team and see what's the best 11 to represent West Indies. Sulieman and Shane are options to consider," said Sammy.
However, despite dominating the opening encounter on the back of Gayle's career-best 333, Sammy knows to be wary of Sri Lanka on their home soil. "Sri Lanka are one of the best teams in the world. We are expecting them to come back strong. I hope they will come hard on us. But we have prepared sufficiently.
"We are looking to improve on our performances. We know what we are capable of doing. We have seen the Sri Lankan line up. Our guys will go out there and play accordingly."