Sammy upbeat despite numerous problems
Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain, has admitted that his team lacked aggression and said the batsmen were working hard to affect a turnaround in the second one-day international against India at Port of Spain.
"Yes. I would say that," Sammy said, when asked a direct question about a lack of aggression. "To be aggressive you still need the confidence. Maybe we can show a bit more intent against the spinners. When our spinners pinned down India, they showed intent towards us.
"Our guys are practising. It's about transferring all these things in the middle. When you look at all the dot balls - we have lots of boundary hitters - when you are not getting boundaries and not rotating the strike, the batsmen get under pressure."
India's tour is only two games old, if you include the Twenty20, but rotating the strike has become a recurring problem for the hosts. There were 169 scoreless deliveries in the West Indian innings during the first ODI on Monday. It was a problem in the T20, and it was also a problem during Pakistan's visit to the Caribbean. Doesn't Sammy lose his cool and get frustrated with his batsmen?
"It's not frustrating," he said. "We are all backing each other. Everyone is trying his best. It's about guys believing in themselves. Once you are not in nick, and not getting pitches where you can play freely, it's going to be difficult. The guys have to believe in themselves."
The other constant theme of the series has been the absence of Chris Gayle, because of his dispute with the WICB. After the defeat in the first ODI, Ramnaresh Sarwan admitted West Indies were missing Gayle's explosiveness at the top. For a team that has struggled to force the pace, Gayle is the obvious solution to that problem. Sammy has been asked repeatedly about the issue and today was no different. "Gayle is going to have a meeting with cricket board, which is way beyond my control," he said. "Hopefully things can get resolved and things can get back to normal."
Another on-field concern for West Indies is Darren Bravo's form. His career has just started but the expectations are huge. The West Indian journalists grilled Sammy about Darren Bravo's lack of runs. "Darren, maybe, is going through a bit of patch now," Sammy said. "We have all seen what he can do. In Sri Lanka he was our best batsman of spin. I am confident that Darren will come good. Maybe we could adjust the batting line up, put Sarwan up at No 3 or something. These are all scenarios we can put forward. Hopefully whoever gets that position can go out there and do good."
Marlon Samuels has also been a bit of a puzzle. Ever since his comeback after the end of his two-year ban, he has struggled for fluency. It appears he is not yet match fit, though he offered glimpses of returning to form in the first ODI. "Samuels was out of cricket for a long time. Everyone takes time in getting back," Sammy said. "I would like less dot balls of course, but he is improving. We are going through a difficult time. We are backing each other. Hopefully things will turn around."
Hope can sometimes be a misleading word for it masks reality, but West Indies can do nothing but hope. Sammy keeps asserting the players are working hard with Desmond Haynes to improve. Hopefully - that word again - for him things will change. Soon.
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo