Monday, April 22, 2024

Sammy’s say


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HOVE – Captain Darren Sammy was at pains yesterday to point out the importance of team work, as a West Indies team missing its major stars held their first training session since arriving here on Wednesday for a three-Test tour.
  West Indies will be without former skipper Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, all of whom are experienced in English conditions. Sammy, however, told reporters that moulding a unit was the most important item on the agenda for team management, instead of heavy reliance on individual stars.
Big names
“Last time we came (to England), we had a whole lot of big names and the Lord’s Test was over in two and a half days. We haven’t got the same big names now, but aim to be very competitive,” Sammy contended.
“The guys work hard for each other. Ever since coach [Ottis] Gibson came on board he has tried to instil the professional attitude. One of our team mottos is to display a positive, ‘can-do’ attitude at all the times.
“The whole mindset is about doing it for the West Indies people. That is at the forefront of our minds. The guys are starting to shape like a family, and you can see that when we are on the field. For me the job is getting easier and easier.”
Strong performance
West Indies are coming off a strong performance in the recent series against Australia where they drew the five-match One-Day series 2-2, tied the two-match Twenty20 series 1-1 before losing the three-Test series 2-0. Despite the disappointing Test result, the Windies made Australia work hard for their victories, a feature Sammy hopes will continue against England.
“I think we are coming from a tough series in the Caribbean,” Sammy explained.
“We have played some good cricket in the year and a half, and we are quite confident we can come to England and play well, so everyone is looking forward to May 17, when the real thing starts.
“It’s never [an easy thing] to play England on home soil. They are quite a strong team when they play in their own backyard. What I can tell you about our side is that we will come and play with a never-say-die attitude.”
No.7 ranked West Indies, with three victories in their last 31 Tests, begin the series as massive underdogs, especially with England the current No.1 ranked team in the world.
With head coach Ottis Gibson serving as England bowling coaching prior to his current appointment, Sammy believes the Windies can use his insider knowledge as an advantage.
“We have a good coach and he has a lot of experience in England, so I know he will make sure the information in the dressing room is clear and we will try to execute our plans,” the all-rounder said.
  Meanwhile, former England skipper Alec Stewart has praised the development of the West Indies side under Sammy.
 “Sammy is a bread and butter cricketer but he marshals his troops very well and the players all respond to his style of captaincy,” Stewart said in his role as a BBC?cricket analyst, noting the West Indies could be a difficult side to captain because there was a lot of inter-island rivalry.
  “My biggest concern is how their batsmen will cope on pitches that offer sideways movement both through the air and off the pitch,” he mused.
“The likes of Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo have good batting averages early in their Test careers, but have they got the technique and temperament to battle it out against one of the best bowling attacks in the world?
  “Will they score enough runs to allow their bowlers an opportunity to bowl England out twice?” (CMC)

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