Sammy urges team unity
West Indies captain Darren Sammy has urged his new-look team to play with unity after their successful start in the Twenty20 against Pakistan, which the hosts won by seven runs. West Indies used five debutants in that game, which was the first Twenty20 played between the two countries, and there are several relatively new faces in the squad for the first two ODIs of the series which begins in St. Lucia on Saturday.
"We have to continue to play as a team," said Sammy. "We created some great opportunities and we took them [in the opening Twenty20]. The batsmen gave us a good total to bowl at and the bowlers followed up well. The fielding was outstanding and you could see the total commitment in the outfield. We're happy with the positive start."
Controversy surrounded the start of West Indies' home series against Pakistan after the omission of several senior players from the limited-overs squads.
The spat between the discarded Chris Gayle and the West Indies Cricket Board quickly escalated, the board expressing its disappointment at his decision and Gayle, who smashed an unbeaten century in his first IPL innings for Royal Challengers Bangalore, offering a strongly-worded riposte. Sammy insisted the players selected were good enough to win games despite the absence of big names.
"I know we have players that can do the job," he said. "We saw how Simmons batted on his return to the team. We saw how well Bishoo bowled and won it for us. At the end there, Russell bowled an excellent last over. I looked into his eyes and saw he could do it. I could see he would do the job for us."
The tour opener at Gros Islet also marked Sammy's first match as captain on home soil, and so he was particularly pleased with the positive result. "This is a really good way to start at home," he said. "We planned well and the players went out and executed. Things went well and I'm happy for the team. We have a new-look team and we saw the players showing the energy and passion we asked for. They put in the maximum effort and we got the result.
"The ODIs will be a different kind of challenge. Pakistan are a good one-day team and are confident following their good showing at the World Cup in Asia. We have to continue playing as a team and showing the confidence and self belief we demonstrated out there today. We have to keep winning the situations within the game and benefit from the opportunities we create."