'Started pondering Test future after NZ series' - Sammy
Darren Sammy, the West Indies all-rounder who announced his retirement from Test cricket yesterday, has said his decision wasn't a fallout of his being replaced as captain by wicketkeeper-batsman Denesh Ramdin.
Sammy, whose decision to call time on his Test career came hours after he was axed as captain, said he had been thinking about it for a long time. "After the New Zealand series [which West Indies lost 2-0] I sat down with the team management and the selectors and then told myself that we cannot continue like this. Probably my career is on the line. I was very serious about it," Sammy told ESPNcricinfo.
"It was a difficult decision. If you have been playing cricket as a kid, all you have been dreaming of is to represent your team in Test cricket and I have been fortunate enough to do it. But I thought it was the right time for me to move on. I feel it's time the West Indies Test team continues to move in a new direction, under a new leader."
Extending his support to Ramdin, who led Trinidad and Tobago into the semifinals of the regional four-day championship, Sammy had a word of advice for him as well. "Denesh has been captaining regional teams with distinction but it (leading West Indies) is a difficult job," he said. "Leading guys who come from different cultural backgrounds and getting the best out of them. I wish him all the best as he tries to the lead West Indies Test cricket forward into a new era."
Despite marking his Test debut with a seven-wicket haul in the second innings at Old Trafford or having been heckled as perhaps the slowest-ever West Indies new-ball bowler, Sammy, the first cricketer from St Lucia to play Test cricket, will be most remembered for having led the West Indies when a player revolt marred Caribbean cricket in 2010.
"When I was asked to lead the team when it was in disarray, it was the most challenging phase for me," Sammy said. "There was no way I could not have accepted the job. To get the bunch to play as a unit, earn their respect and then lead them towards a new direction has been a memorable journey. From what I have contributed, I hope I have done my bit and it's time for somebody else to carry on."
Sammy, who has had a moderate run in the IPL for Sunrisers Hyderabad this year, stressed that his best as a limited-overs cricketer was yet to come. "I am sure we all have a part to play to take West Indies cricket forward in whichever format we are playing in," Sammy said. "I am pretty much available in one-day and T20 cricket and hope my services will be utilised. I have my best years of cricket ahead of me and look forward to contributing to West Indies cricket. I am still fit. Probably I might not look fit but I am fit. I wish I can keep on playing my role in West Indies cricket."
Sammy thanked the West Indies cricket fraternity and his family for their support. "I respect this great game a lot and I have always given my best, whether it was in the dressing room or when I have trained," he said. "I thank all my teammates and support staff and administrators for all their support. I would also like to thank all my friends and family for standing beside me, especially my wife Cathy."
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo