West Indies news July 12, 2011

'West Indies aiming for top five by 2015' - Sammy

ESPNcricinfo staff

Creating a professional ethos, improving fitness levels and identifying new talent are the key focus areas for West Indies as they aim to break into the top half of the Test table by 2015, their captain Darren Sammy has said. In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Sammy, who was appointed captain until the end of the 2011 season, also spoke about his experience thus far, the role of seniors in the side and his dynamics with former captain Chris Gayle.

"Obviously bringing the whole professional attitude into practice properly and getting fit [are top of the agenda]," Sammy said, outlining the side's vision, as they strive to shake off years of sub-par performances. "I believe the fitter you are, the more right decisions you will make. You will not cramp up under pressure. Being in the top five by 2015, and building a strong team that will go out and compete against anybody [are also part of the plan].

"If you noticed over the last couple of years, we have been rotating the same guys. So now we are exposing a few more players, getting the right system, the right work ethic to go out and represent West Indies. Start changing the whole laidback type of culture, just strictly being professional. Knowing what to do for the team, and doing whatever it takes to make the team win [are the goals]."

Sammy took charge of the side in a period of turmoil caused by the team's on-field disappointments, and continued wrangling between the board and senior players, Gayle in particular. Several critics have questioned Sammy's place in the side as an allrounder, pointing to his modest batting returns at No. 8. Sammy has gained more success with the ball - he has 46 wickets in 16 Tests - but his presence in the team relegates the much faster Kemar Roach to the bench. Sammy said the criticism was unfair and believed his record was good enough to merit a spot in the starting XI.

"I think I have justified my selection as a bowler in the team," Sammy said. "My batting has obviously not been up to scratch. It's something I have to work on.

"If I look at my Test record it is okay. In every team somebody will always be the fall guy. So far it's always been me. It's tough luck on Kemar. At the end of the day the selectors pick the team. What's good is that we have competition for spots in the bowling department."

Sammy also revealed that while he was ready to lead the team through the tough times, he had no qualms over playing under someone else. "I am not somebody who, if not the captain, will be sulking and stuff like that. To be honest, I never dreamt of being the captain. Whether I am the captain or not, I will be the same person. I enjoy my job, but what I am saying is I would enjoy my cricket even if I am not the captain."

The Gayle-WICB dispute has raged for the bulk of Sammy's tenure as captain - he took charge after Gayle's demotion. However, he challenged the perception that he was the board's man and insisted he had always enjoyed a good working relationship with Gayle and had no part to play in how the feud unfolded.

"The whole situation with Gayle is not in my hands. I have no issues with Christopher. He helped me throughout the World Cup. I was always going to him for advice and stuff like that. It's sad that we have an issue like this now. Hopefully something positive will come out of this issue."

Even as West Indies make a concerted push towards introducing new talent, Sammy said seniors like Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan have a role to play in the side's future. "You saw today [fifth day of the Dominica Test] what Shiv [Chanderpaul] does and what he has been doing throughout his career. He has the ability to rally the younger players around him. And we have a number of young players in the team presently, but you saw the way he guided Kirk Edwards through to his first century. Hopefully he can carry on batting like he's been doing.

"Sars [Sarwan] is a class player. I believe that he will bounce back being the classy player that he is and the fighter that he is. So I will never write Sarwan off. I believe he still has a lot to offer."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • giovaughn on July 15, 2011, 20:35 GMT

    with all the problems with the Sri Lankan board, their bowling & their top batsmen being well over 30 surpassing them isn't impossible. the PCB also has its struggles as well as Misbah,Yousuf & Younis being up in age. they will miss Amir & Asif too

    however i do not see India South Africa England or Australia leaving the top 5 by 2015. i believe they have the talent pool financial resources & technical know how to maintain their current positions despite losing Tendulkar Dravid Laxman Sehwag Zaheer Kallis Boucher Strauss Swann Prior Trott Katich Ponting Hussey & Haddin I say give Chanderpaul or Gayle a 2nd shot @ captaincy with Sammy as vice captain bring in Roach for Bharat & have Gayle & Bravo opening . If Bravo & Sammy dont step up their batting & fielding then drop them

  • Althea on July 15, 2011, 19:07 GMT

    W.I need to aim High, Stop aiming for Drawn test, look to win test..yes we know you guys are on along loosing streak..winning will make the different not drawing..stop trying to instill that mentality in the minds of W.I...Go for the kill

  • Althea on July 15, 2011, 18:48 GMT

    India did very well with Gayle, Darren Bravo and Taylor missing from W.I Squad.. seem like it was 2 teams with 2nd string team playing against each other, and the team with the most confidence won...not talent....

  • Dummy4 on July 15, 2011, 17:51 GMT

    Sammy is a dismal failure. His record as a captain reflects that. This is the age of performance management. Andre Russell is a far superior cricketer than this Sammy fellow and the only reason why he isnt in the team is because Sammy is occupying that crucial spot. Sammy has won nothing and will win nothing. He should d the right thing and step down. He is a hindrance to a fine cricketer in Russell being denied a place because of the pettyness of Julian Hunte who is a countryman of Sammy. The opposing coaches and commentators will 'Sammy is a good captain" because they want him to remain there so that they can outhink and outplay us. Do the right thing Sammy and step down for the betterment of Windies Cricket.

  • Carson on July 15, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    Also @ kemmisito: Cricinfo's Stats Guru will also show you that Darren Sammy is the least consistent bowler to have taken 3 or more wickets in an innings. In 29 innings Sammy have only taken 3 or more wickets in an innings 5 times. This is 17.24%. Edwards have taken 3 or more wickets in an innings 24/80 times at 30%, Taylor -13/49 times at 26.5%, Roach -7/21 times at 33.3%, Rampaul -5/18 times at 27.7% and Bishoo -5/10 times at 50%. So the bowlers who are likely to get u 3 or more wickets every innings in descending order are Bishoo, Roach, Edwards, Rampaul, Taylor then Sammy.

  • Althea on July 15, 2011, 17:11 GMT

    I am not a Sammy hater. but I love Cricket more that I love Sammy, My fellow W.I please. let us not bury our heads in the sand...Sammy with all his heart, passion and love for the game, is not a better all rounder that Dwayne Bravo and A. Russle. I would prefer Sammy captain the ODI and T20 Squad any day, as he him self claims he is a stock bowler...I admire the 2015 Vision, but if Sammy does not answer with his bat he cannot have the right to say he is a genuine all rounder, he has played 16 test match (28) innings and never scored 1 single half century ....Bravo did and if Russle got the chance he he will...

  • Carson on July 15, 2011, 16:21 GMT

    @ kemmisito: What Cricinfo's Stats Guru will also show you is that Darren Sammy has a strike rate of 65.0 compared to Edwards' 56.3, Roach's 57.3 and Taylor's 60.1. Lets look at some even more interesting stats - Sammy's bowling average against the top teams are disastrous!! Against Aus. he averages 60.80, India -38.28, SA -69.50 and Sri Lanka - 75.50!! Lets now compare the other bowlers. Against Aus. Taylor averages 31.22, Edwards -34.60 and Roach -51.00. Against India, Taylor averages 24.35, Edwards -21.38 and Roach -hasn't played against India as yet. Against SA, Taylor averages 31.77, Edwards -90.36 and Roach -31.0. against Sri Lanka Taylor averages 35.92, Edwards -21.45, and Roach -24.50. From those stats one can see that apart from Edwards poor average against SA the averages of Sammy's other competitors are far better against teams with a powerful batting line up. Sammy is an excellent support bowler but he is not a strike bowler. He should play at No.6 as an All Rounder!!

  • Dummy4 on July 15, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    Darren Sammy is a very consistent player and a excellent captain (there is no doubt about it) but consistency means nothing if you do not have the flair that is required to be a test match bowler. the only problem that i have with Darren Sammy being in the side is that he is keeping two of the brightest lights of west indian cricket out of the team for example Kemar Roach or Andre Russel, if these two players were in the team they could go on to be two of best players in the side and the most shocking point is that as an all-rounder Andre Russel is a better player in my opinion, he has better batting ability than Darren Sammy, he is alot quicker and more flair and wicket-taking abillity than sammy although he may not yet be as consistant as Darren Sammy. Andre Russel will only grow with the experience of playing test math cricket.

  • Kemmy on July 15, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    @ Anil_Koshy: It's really funny to hear you say "Sammy cannot take 5-6 wickets in a test match". Please be advised that Sammy has 4 Five wicket hauls in 16 test matches. That's 1 every 4 matches. No one on the WI team gets 5 wicket hauls more consistently. Fidel is the next best as he gets 1 in every 4.6 matches. Taylor gets 1 in every 9.66 matches. Roach gets 1 in every 6 matches. Benn gets 1 in every 5.66 matches. Rampaul has never taken 5 wickets in his 10 matches. Bishoo has never taken 5 wickets in his 5 matches. Sammy is obviously not the most gifted bowler however is a more consistent performer than our more talented guys who will sparle for 1 match and bowl garbage for the next 4 matches. That's why all these guys except Roach average over 35 while Sammy averages below 30. Please do some research before making biased inaccurate statements dude. You have Cricinfo's Stats Guru @ your disposal. Please make use of it.

  • Muthuvel on July 14, 2011, 18:27 GMT

    WI did very well, but india did not have sachin,sehwag,gambir,yuvi,zaheer,sreesanth.

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