Darren Sammy retires from Test cricket
Darren Sammy has announced his retirement from Test cricket after losing the captaincy.
His decision on Friday evening came just hours after the WICB announced that wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin was replacing Sammy as captain of the Test side for the upcoming three-Test series against New Zealand beginning on June 8 in Jamaica. Sammy will remain T20 captain for the West Indies and has informed the board that he will continue to make himself available for selection in ODIs.
Sammy was the first player from St Lucia to represent the West Indies Test side, making his debut as a 23-year-old in 2007 against England at Old Trafford. He took 7 for 66 in the second innings of a 60-run loss to the home side, the best bowling figures at Old Trafford since Malcolm Marshall claimed 7 for 22 in 1988. They were also the best for any West Indian on debut since Alf Valentine claimed 8 for 102 against England at the same venue in 1950 and would remain Sammy's best haul over his 38 Tests.
After having played only eight Tests, he was made captain of the Test side taking over from Chris Gayle in October 2010 after Gayle turned down a WICB central contract. It was a curious move at the time since Sammy was not an automatic selection due to his modest record with both bat and ball, claiming 27 wickets at 27.74 while maintaining a batting average of 19.40 with high score of 48 in 15 innings.
Sammy fought off plenty of criticism throughout his reign during which West Indies won eight, lost 12 and drew 10 of the Tests he captained. During a seven-month stretch beginning in November 2011, West Indies lost three consecutive three-match series - in India, at home to Australia and then away again in England - all by a final margin of 2-0.
The WICB continued to show faith in Sammy's leadership though and they were rewarded when he led them to six straight Test victories - two each at home against New Zealand, away in Bangladesh and back home against Zimbabwe - before a poor showing by the West Indies in India during Sachin Tendulkar's farewell series last November provided more fodder for Sammy's detractors. His final series in charge was in New Zealand last December where Darren Bravo's double-century saved the first Test in Dunedin before West Indies lost heavily in the final two matches of the series.
He leaves Test cricket at a time when his Twenty20 career is near its peak. After leading West Indies to the World T20 title in 2012, he led them to the semifinals in 2014 on the back of some impressive finishing displays, none more than against Australia when he scored 34 not out off 13 balls in a final-over six-wicket win.