West Indies captain plays down suggestion that team has the edge against Sri Lanka, says it's all about soaking in the pressure on the day
Darren Sammy is constantly on the lookout for inspiration. The captain of the West Indies team is unlike leaders of other teams in that he does not put on a macho façade, talk with any great authority about the technical aspects of the game or complicate things too much. Rather, he takes a tremendous amount of joy in playing cricket, and this shows.
One thing Sammy would like to do, however, is become the first captain to have successfully defended an ICC World Twenty20 title. “When we left the Caribbean, we had that as the motivation factor for us. In the last World Cup, the mantra was one team, one goal and the mission was to win the World Cup. This year the mantra is the same: One team, one goal, but the mission is to retain the title,” said Sammy on the eve of his team’s semifinal against Sri Lanka on Thursday (March 3). “It’s something that no team has done before and we are very confident that we can do it. Once we play the brand of cricket that we played in the last three games, there is every possibility that we can do it.”
When Sammy lead his team to triumph in Colombo in 2012, the aftermath of the win was tinged with disappointment as he was stripped of the One-Day International captaincy. “Probably, if we win this tournament, I won’t be Test captain much longer,” said Sammy, half in jest. “For me, it has never been about whether I am captain or not. I just enjoy playing for West Indies. Not many people get to wake up in the morning and get to do something they love. I know I have a lot of friends who wake up on a Monday morning not wanting to go to work. For me, it’s about enjoying what I do and giving the best for the team. I have really worked hard and the last four years at the helm haven’t been a bed of roses. But I just keep on enjoying what I do for West Indies and it’s good to see the performances coming consistently and enjoying those phases. It has always been about West Indies. It has never been about Darren.”
Sammy also sought to play down the suggestion that the West Indies enjoyed an edge over Sri Lanka because they played all their Super 10s matches at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, while Sri Lanka enjoyed the facilities at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong. “I wouldn’t say we have an edge. After our first game, a lot of people said that West Indies are not going to progress to the next round and like I said, cricket is played on the pitch and the team who turn up and execute the plans properly and hold their nerve in pressure situations, they normally come out victorious,” said Sammy. “And, so far, barring that game against India, we have done that. It’s about continuing that process. We only have two more steps to take and we are going to focus on that main step, which is the semifinal and we know once we are in the final, anything is possible.”