West Indies news October 21, 2010

Sammy vows to bring passion and energy

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Darren Sammy never dreamed of being the West Indies captain. He once said his goal was to be the workhorse of the side. Yet after playing only eight Tests, he finds himself catapulted to the forefront of West Indies cricket in a time of upheaval and change, with a tough tour of Sri Lanka on the horizon, but none of this appears to faze him.

"I am going to be bold and frank," Sammy told ESPNcricinfo. "I will let the players know what I expect and I, myself, will set an example. I will bring out the passion, the energy, and the commitment to West Indies cricket."

Sammy was given the captaincy after his predecessor Chris Gayle, and vice-captain Dwayne Bravo chose not to sign central contracts last month. The pair, along with Kieron Pollard, have forged lucrative Twenty20 careers in domestic tournaments, including the IPL, and refused WICB's contracts which stipulated that they must make themselves available for the West Indies team at all times.

The selectors decided it was important to have a captain who wanted to make that commitment, and placed Sammy and the Australian-born batsman Brendan Nash in charge of the Test squad until the end of the 2011 home series, ending Gayle's three-year period at the helm of the team. Gayle and Bravo are in the squad that is headed to Sri Lanka, and Sammy is confident of having his former captain's support.

"Ever since I started my career in 2004, Chris has been the one who has made me feel comfortable. I have a good relationship with him, and with most of the players. He has said he will give me and the team his full support, which I know he means."

Sammy said he doesn't feel any pressure to justify his place despite not being a regular member of the Test squad since he marked his Test debut in 2007 with 7 for 66 at Old Trafford. Since then he has been in and out of the side, averaging 19.40 with the bat and 27.74 with the ball. "I have full confidence in my ability," Sammy said. "When I have been given the opportunity to play Test cricket, my stats show that I have done well."

West Indies have slipped to seventh place in the ICC Test rankings and eighth in the ODI chart and Sammy, obviously, is keen to lead the side back up the table. To do this he talks about thinking clearly on the field and executing properly, about doing the right things. But most of all, he talks about playing with pride and passion - something West Indies teams of recent vintage have often lacked.

"I vow to represent the West Indies with pride and dignity," he said. "Whatever we do, whether we are fielding, batting or bowling, you do with pride."

He realises this is no overnight task, that West Indies are in a rebuilding phase, and the Sri Lanka tour is merely the first step in what will be a long journey back to prominence. He remains optimistic though, that everyone is on the same page. "It will take a strong work ethic and discipline to get us there. We have to work as a team. We have to enjoy what we do. When we do that, and when we play well, it brings lots of smiles to the Caribbean people."

Sammy is acutely aware of the heritage of West Indies cricket and the responsibility of the current generation to live up to it. "I am taking on a mountain that carries so much legacy," he said, "and I will also remind the guys of the great legacy that we carry." He talks about the honour of following in the footsteps of Frank Worrell, Garfield Sobers, Clive Lloyd and Vivian Richards as the captain of the side. Sammy's comments are in contrast to Gayle's, who has said more than once that he does not want to be captain, and that he wouldn't be sad if Test cricket were to disappear.

Sammy plans to pick the brains of Lloyd and Richards, as well as senior players in the current team, to help him become a better captain. However, he makes it clear he will ultimately be his own man.

His expectations for the tour of Sri Lanka are simple - to compete. The squad contains a lot of new faces and he cites Shivnarine Chanderpaul as someone who sets "an excellent example" as a batsman and a cricketer that newcomers can look up to. Gayle is another player he feels can inspire the youngsters in the squad. Although Sulieman Benn will miss the first Test due to suspension, Sammy is confident the team has the bowling resources to trouble the Sri Lankan batsman.

But beyond the mathematics of wins and losses, Sammy wants to put the smiles back on the faces of West Indies fans. He wants to make them feel the same way he felt when he first started watching cricket with his father. "That's what Darren Sammy wants to do. Bring back the joy."

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • exuma on October 22, 2010, 14:31 GMT

    I can understand the fustration with WICB as Sars is frequently injured, which they claim is due to lack of fitness. However what is being done to help him?,he is asked to go back to Guyana and play club cricket, where is the rest and rehab program?. Is Guyana club cricket going to help Sars game, we saw the dismal performance of Guyana in SA, the gap is too wide. Does Guyana even have a proper gym/ physio/trainer to work with him?. WICB need to look at the region as one and Get him into T&T, Barb etc where there are better training program and qualify physio. I noticed in the Guyana game last week in Ja , the Guyana team did not have a Physio and Sagicor physio was helping out. This is a team that just represented the entire WI in SA. Players fitness is their own responsibility, cricket is what putting food on their table, its their job and need to work on it; WICB likewise has to make the facilities available. Anyone know is WICB officals still carry diplomatic status? EXUMA

  • exuma on October 22, 2010, 13:36 GMT

    Congrats Sammy. You are the new WI capt. And its up to you to put your stamp on it. Continue to play with alot of energy and others will follow. Don't get caught up in all the controversy of who got and who decline their contract. Focus on the task at hand; capt. the WI, if you can come back from SL with 3 draws in the test that will be better than loosing. As capt Shiv need to bat higher and anchor the innings, he is the most experience player, bat him at 4 not 5/6/or 7. Good Luck Exuma

  • BulBul_Pak on October 22, 2010, 9:32 GMT

    Well well..the thing is that most of the windies players like darren sammy, jerome taylor, kieron pollard, chris gayle, dwane bravo are capable of wining matches single handedly(FOR IPL FRANCHISES ONLY :P)..but when it comes to PLAY FOR WINDIES TEAM then they look like as a bunch of idiots...if these solo performers can get themselves be able to set aside their personal egos and insecurities and play for the nation's pride , play as a team no matter whoever is captain then windies can lift the 2011 world cup..else they will stay at the bottom as usual...

  • Meety on October 22, 2010, 2:41 GMT

    @Wizla - the 300 soldiers were Spartans & basically Greek - but I liked the analogy. I must admit I have underated Sammy - but maybe he has something special that will make him rise to the occasion. He has a tough job on his hands - it could be worse, he could be the captain of NZ! - LOL a big sorry to my Cuz's across the dutch, it was a low blow bro!

  • CVasu on October 22, 2010, 1:51 GMT

    The only problem with WI cricket and england is they dont have a proper team coordination among themselves ........ they got to play the game as a team ......... now england is dng good and i will b happy if england can win ashes this time .......... similarly WI should first built a belief that they can do ...... its not that SAMMY or GALE or whoever it might be .......all they need to learn first is how to work as a team .......

  • dummy4fb on October 22, 2010, 1:43 GMT

    all d bes sammy..ull bring bac a smile t west indies faces...rally around d windies!!!!

  • Nerk on October 22, 2010, 0:13 GMT

    It was said that all the Windies had to do to be a great side is find a captain who can rise above the inter island rivallries. Is Sammy that man? Possibly. And yes the Windies haven't been the best side in the world, but they nearly ambushed Australia IN Australia last year, and if they had a better captain and a bit more experience they possibly could have won that test series. Talent in the Winidies has never been a problem... discipline and the work ethic has been. If Sammy can get the fielders, bowlers and batters to put in a bit more hard graft, the Windies could take anyone, anywhere once again.

  • Rakesh_Sharma on October 22, 2010, 0:06 GMT

    I find samy to be the most enthusiastic cricketer from WI. Also, he has performed very well in his short career. Why not make him captain. Let Cris Gayle concentrate on batting . Samy can turn out to be an excellent allrounder actually something like Flintoff. Tendulkar failed as batsman when made captain but plays well without any responsibility. same thing could be with Gayle. Not everybody is like Ponting, Bradman, Waugh who plays well, leads well , wins matches for the team and still remains captain. Same way Samy could be a true cricketer and lead Wi to great heights. However I feel Sarwan should have been chosen even though he is a bad fielder. Many of the Indian batsman play 100's of tests despite being useless fielders.

  • everfaithful77 on October 21, 2010, 23:49 GMT

    CONGRATULATIONS DARREN SAMMY!! He is by far the best player to lead West Indies at this time after the rejection of WI contracts by Gayle and Bravo. Sammy brings the energy and excitement that is badly needed in WI cricket. His captaincy will foster team UNITY, LOYALTY and a POSITIVE approach to the game. He is a young man and therefore has ample time to learn the fine art of leadership, motivation and management. His appointment can be compared to that of Clive LLoyd, a batsman with a modest record as WI captain. LLoyd went on to become probably the most successful leader ever in international cricket. They are both alrounders and magnificent fielders and share a great passion for the game. To all the detractors I say give Sammy some time to prove himself. His recent predecessors including Gayle got their opportunity and were not quite up to the task. All WEST INDIANS must now throw their FULL SUPPORT behind the NEW LEADER AND HIS TEAM and wish them GREAT SUSSESS. All the best guys.

  • ragamuffintuffy on October 21, 2010, 23:18 GMT

    Nuff respect to our new WI captain...Hope he follows in the footsteps of the successful Pakistan's allrounder captain, Imran Khan...Darren Sammy has a vibrant personality n i hope he can mold wi boys into a cohesive dominant/ competitive team. We have a lot of naysayers in our diverse n exotic region, but granny n naany of the Windies are optimistic n sez he'll make a wonderful captain!

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