‘Shelve the egos for the good of West Indies’ – Darren Sammy

‘Shelve the egos for the good of West Indies’ – Sammy

Darren Sammy with World T20 Trophy

Darren Sammy with World T20 Trophy

Darren Sammy has called for West Indies’ players and administrators to put their “egos” to one side and work for the betterment of the game in the region, as he prepares to return to competitive action for the first time since leading his side to victory in the World T20 at Eden Gardens last month.

Either way, he will not be making a triumphant homecoming for West Indies during their Tri-Nations Series against South Africa and Australia, which gets underway at Providence on June 3, having been cut from the WICB’s list of contracted players back in January.

Sammy, who has arrived at Hampshire for this season’s NatWest T20 Blast, will sit out today’s clash with Middlesex at Uxbridge due to registration issues, and instead make his first outing of the campaign in next Thursday’s home match against Kent. (see article Hampshire sign Darren Sammy)

Instead, Sammy has spent much of the past month on a champions’ tour of his home island of St Lucia. With his teammate and fellow St Lucian, Johnson Charles, alongside him, he has been parading the World T20 trophy around his country’s schools, honouring the pledge he made during his emotional speech on the podium in Kolkata, when he dedicated the victory to “all our fans in the Caribbean”.

However, he is itching to return to the cricket field after a month spent basking in the afterglow of a remarkable triumph, in which he emulated the achievement of the great Clive Lloyd in leading West Indies to a second global title, following their previous victory in the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka.

“I wouldn’t say up there with Lloyd because what he did with his team was historical,” Sammy told ESPNcricinfo during a Kwik Cricket Festival in Hampshire. “But I can’t stand next to you and say I have not enjoyed it. I got a chance to go home with the trophy, and I took the trophy to the people because I said it was for the people. I saw the reaction from the kids – I was once a kid and I knew how much I felt when I saw my heroes.”

“I belong on the cricket field and I’ve not been on the cricket field since the World T20, so coming here to Hampshire, I can’t wait to get started.”

Despite the satisfaction of West Indies’ triumph – across three formats, following the success of both the Women’s World T20 squad in India and the men’s Under-19 squad in Bangladesh – Sammy’s frustration with the WICB was evident once again earlier this week when he and his fellow exiles, Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, exchanged incredulous messages on Twitter with Kieron Pollard, following his unexpected inclusion in the Tri-Series squad. ( see article – Gayle, Bravo and Sammy question ODI selection)

“It’s sad that for so long it’s been a back-and-forth between the board and players,” said Sammy. “But these three wins show we can win cricket at all levels, and if we could work together, that’s all you need. Players and board working together, sharing a common goal, with no egos. It would be better for West Indies cricket but at the moment it’s just not happening.

“They always say sports and politics don’t mix, which is true. But at the end you have to give credit to the most important thing, which is the cricket. And who plays the cricket? The cricketers. That is your product. If you plant corn, you have to take care of it, nurture it, fertilize it and then you can reap the rewards, so it is similar to the West Indies cricket team.”

There are movements afoot to reinvigorate the administration of West Indies cricket, and Sammy said he had been inspired to witness a speech made by Sir Garfield Sobers back in April, when a panel of West Indies legends gathered in Grenada to call for the dissolution of the board, in line with the CARICOM cricket review panel’s recommendation.

“I listened to Sir Garry speak, and it brought tears to my eyes,” said Sammy. “The same thing he went through, playing 50 years ago, it is still happening. To watch a legend that I look up to, speak with such passion and hurt, it’s sad. The people in charge of West Indies cricket have to make it better, swallow their pride and their ego – and some of us players too – and work for the betterment of West Indies cricket. Because that’s who we play for, the fans.”

Despite the distractions, Sammy confirmed that the politics had played a massive part in uniting his team throughout their World T20 triumph.

“I’m telling you, it was a massive motivation, a massive drive for the guys,” he said. “We made a conscious effort to go out and play and stay focused. As a team it brought us closer together and in the face of adversity we always tend to rise. We fought like cornered tigers, and it was a very memorable experience, seeing guys committed to one cause.

“We should use that in all formats we play, whether one-day or Tests, because once we believe and stick together, we can achieve. I am just hoping that, in the coming months, we could have the right people in place to take West Indies cricket forward.” (ESPNcricinfo)

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