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Darren Sammy tells batsmen to lift

Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain, has urged his batsmen to be mentally focussed and do whatever it takes to get West Indies back in the series after their 63-run loss in the opening Test in Kingston

Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain, has urged his batsmen to be mentally focussed and do whatever it takes to get West Indies back in the series after their 63-run loss in the opening Test in Kingston. Asked what this team was missing, Sammy simply replied: "Runs on the board".
"The batting unit know that we have been way behind the eight-ball … I still believe the guys are trying their best," Sammy said. "It's about being more mentally focussed when you are out there in the middle and doing whatever it takes to put your team in good position. Like how Dravid played and Harbhajan came and played the situation of the game, taking charge of the situation. We need more guys to take on that responsibility."
It was an interesting post-match press conference. At no point did Sammy look ruffled or angry. At times he evaded straight replies, especially to questions about Chris Gayle. "It's about us wining the key moments. Having them 80-odd for 6 we should have bowled better. Then we had the chance to bat well but we were behind them by 70-odd runs. There is not much between the teams but it's a matter of winning the key moments.
"Well, we have still to be positive. This is a three-Test series. We have to pick ourselves up … The way the bowlers have bowled If we can put up a good score or chase well we stand a good chance to come back and level the series. The games come down close. The thing for me as a professional is that you get out there and try to do well. For us, as batting unit, most times it has not come off well."
Sammy was asked repeatedly about Gayle but chose to take a detour around the subject until he finally gave an answer that was open to interpretation. The question was direct: Are you missing the firepower of Gayle at the top. "The batting has not been the problem only this series; it has been plaguing us for the last ten years," he said. "Maybe I could have Sobers, Viv [Richards], Walcott all of them. I think whoever is picked for West Indies, if you are a batsman the onus is on you to make a difference."
The questioner persisted again. But Gayle would have made a difference? "You never know, when he comes back we will see." The reporter gave up and smiled.
The questions moved back to the batting. Does he talk to the batsmen or leave it for the batting consultant Desmond Haynes?
"I have my say as well," Sammy said. "We brought Dessie in as batting coach. So he and the coach [Ottis Gibson] have a say. I as a captain or Dessie as batting coach or Gibson as coach we can only talk but at the end of the day we as players have to get out there and do the best for the team. You can't score runs in the nets. You have to get out there in the middle and do what is necessary for the team."
There was another question about possible team composition. Should they have played Marlon Samuels? Samuels and Gayle are both from Jamaica and they are bound to be featured in lots of questions in this region. Again, Sammy didn't offer a straight answer. "The selectors came up with the eleven to represent West Indies and whoever is there should take the responsibility to perform."
Will there be any change for the second Test? "We have 13 people in the squad. There is every possibility that we can have changes."
There were positives to emerge from this team, mainly the effort of the bowlers with ball and bat. "We bowled out India twice," Sammy said. "So we know we can take 20 wickets. Batting last we got the highest score in the match. If we can correct batting and I don't drop Dravid we can put ourselves in a better place to win the next test."
He said he will continue to back his team and hoped that they will bounce back in the second Test at Barbados. "Just as the team believes in me, I also believe in them. We try to keep positive atmosphere in the dressing room. Next game is a different day. If we can prepare hard in the nets we can do it. As long as the players take responsibility to put the team first we will be in a better position."
If the batsmen don't show that responsibility? "Well, when you look at the team, it's selected by the selectors. At the end of the day people have a job to do, they will analyse us and come up with the best possible solution."

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo