The West Indies captain insists on the team playing to its potenial in the semi-final
West Indies has only one outright win at the ICC World Twenty20 2012, and yet finds itself just one victory away from making it through to the final. Given that, it was no surprise to hear Darren Sammy say that the team had yet to bring its ‘A’ game to the competition.
Winless in Group B, the West Indies entered the Super Eights on net run rate ahead of Ireland. In the Super Eights, it defeated England, lost to Sri Lanka and tied with New Zealand before winning in the Super Over. It went through to the semi-finals as the second-placed team behind unbeaten Sri Lanka.
Up against West Indies in Friday’s second semi-final is Australia, which had defeated West Indies in the first phase on the Duckworth-Lewis method. “Yes, we have qualified for the semis and I don’t think we have brought our ‘A’ game on to the cricket field,” said Sammy. “Once we play to our full potential, once everybody clicks as a team, we will be a destructive force. We know that in the dressing room and we are quite confident we could go out and do that tomorrow.”
Sammy said his team was seeking to draw inspiration from the success of the Caribbean athletes at the Olympic Games in London in July. “That was definitely mentioned in our preparation,” he said. I remember the coach (Ottis Gibson) giving a speech in one of the meetings before the World Cup about what happened this year in the Olympics with our Caribbean athletes. That has given the Caribbean people a lot of inspiration.
“I remember being in Jamaica watching the men’s and women’s 100M and 400M finals. Even though it was Jamaica winning, it felt like the entire Caribbean,” he said. “Cricket is a game that really unites the Caribbean people. Everybody at home is rooting for us. After all those happenings in the Olympics, this is another step for us as a Caribbean team to put a smile on our fans’ faces. We play for the fans. We dedicate this tournament to all the die-hard fans who have been supporting us through thick and thin. It is a golden opportunity for us to go out there and win this World Cup for them.”
Sammy revealed that the team has also been driven by a motto that it hit upon before the event started. “It’s hard work that’s the reason for our success,” he said. “Since the coach came on board, we have tried to instil a positive, can-do attitude in the set-up. We have a lot of belief now in ourselves -- we believe we can go on to win matches and compete and perform and win against our opponents, that’s the biggest factor for us.
“We have not had the best tournament, but we are still in the semi-final. It shows you the belief that the team has. Everyone is willing to go out there and do the best for the fans. The goal, the motto we left the Caribbean with is: One Team, One People, One Goal. The mission is to win the Twent720 World Cup and we have taken it step by step. We saw it as a 100-metre hurdles. We got two more hurdles to jump to reach the finish line. Tomorrow is about jumping that hurdle. Once we jump it, we are in the final and it is just one more to go.
“In any organisation, any team, any group, the more you work together, the more you achieve. Yes, there are guys who do more than others in the team but I think every contribution from every player is important and that’s what we have been able to put together out in this tournament. So far, it’s going well for us. When people think we are down and out, somewhere somehow, somebody has raised his hand and help us over the line. It’s going to be the same attitude tomorrow and hopefully we could bring our ‘A’ game and come out victorious.”
Sammy urged the West Indian women’s team, which plays Australia Women in the semi-final on Friday afternoon, to ‘set the trend’. “It’s rare that we find the men and women playing the same team,” he said. “I would want the girls to set the trend for us in winning their semi-final game and we could follow suit. In the current tournament, they lost to Sri Lanka and then the following day, we lost to Sri Lanka. So probably they set the trend for us. I would like to wish Merissa Aguilleira and her team all the best in tomorrow’s semis and hopefully we both could be in Sunday’s final.”