West Indies Twenty20 captain 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.
Sammy’s comments came today as he arrived in Hampshire to represent that County in this year’s NatWest T20 Blast. He will sit out tomorrow’s clash with Middlesex at Uxbridge due to registration issues, and his first match of the campaign is next Thursday’s home match against Kent.
“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,” he said, referring to his team’s capturing of the ICC Twenty20 Championship in India as well as the West Indies Women’s triumph in the same tournament and the West Indies Under-19s winning the ICC Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh.
Sammy added: “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,” Sammy said.
Sammy, once considered a Board man after being appointed captain of the West Indies in all three formats despite concerns that he could not command a place in the team on ability, has been highly critical of the WICB in recent times. He used the occasion of the West Indies triumph in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in India to castigate the WICB.
Last week he took to social media, along with Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, to criticize the West Indies selectors and question their exclusion from the West Indies team to play in an imminent Tri-series in the Caribbean also involving South Africa and Australia.