WT20 : Proud Sammy savours West Indies’ T20 success
Hopefully this win can inspire our Test cricketers to be better, says winning captain, hailing team’s depth in shortest format
At no stage during their stuttering chase of 156 did the team feel that it would not get over the line, Darren Sammy emphasised minutes after West Indies had won their second ICC World Twenty20 crown on Sunday (April 3) night.
Chasing England’s 155 for 9, West Indies didn’t ever look in control until Carlos Brathwaite lashed four sixes on the bounce in the last over of the final from Ben Stokes with 19 needed, consigning England to a heart-breaking four-wicket loss.
“We believe,” Sammy thundered. “Haven’t you seen this belief in the team? And the never-say-die attitude? And the way the guys have played? We’ve had some tough victories and today was another tough one. They started off really well. It was good to come out over the line.
“This means a lot, not only for us as a team but for our fans all over the world. I started the tournament by saying that we are inspired by our Under-19 boys in Bangladesh, and earlier this afternoon, the way our women’s team played and won the cup was more motivation for us to complete the treble. It means a lot for all three teams and cricket in the region.”
As someone sought to draw a parallel with Clive Lloyd, the current chairman of selectors who also led West Indies to two World Cup titles, Sammy embarked on a tangential route. “I don’t know when I’ll have these guys in the dressing room (again). You look at the schedule, I don’t see any T20 schedule for this year because of the system in the Caribbean. We have a tri-series (involving Australia and South Africa) and a (Test) series against India. We are not eligible for selection and so this tournament meant a lot. Not only for me but for the guys. We played for a cause.
“What I could tell you about this T20 team, it is bringing smiles across all the Caribbean fans. Even here in India, the crowd was behind us. We as a T20 outfit, we entertain. I don’t know about the glory days where we dominated Test cricket for 17 years. That is an area where we have to improve. But the success of this T20 team cannot be unnoticed. We bring smiles to the fans and that’s what we are going to continue. The next World Cup is in four years. I probably have to get fitter if I have to continue, Chris (Gayle) might have to do more push-ups. That’s why this one means a lot more than the first one because we knew what was at stake.”
While Sammy conceded that there was plenty of work left to do in the Test arena, he added that it would be impossible to overlook the accomplishments of the T20 side. “We get a lot of stick wherever we go because of the way we play Test cricket. T20 and Test cricket are totally different formats. We are very good in T20 cricket, the fact is that we have not been able to play a brand of Test cricket that allows us to win. If you look at our side, we have a young captain in Jason (Holder), who I think is improving all the time. We have some youngsters. With structured development, I see (Darren) Bravo, (Jermain) Blackwood, the double Brathwaites (Kraigg and Carlos), (Devendra) Bishoo and all the guys making an impact. They could take inspiration from the way we play T20s and just be more dedicated to Test cricket. Hopefully this win can inspire our Test cricketers to be better.”
Despite being snapped up for Rs 4.2 crore by Delhi Daredevils in the IPL 9 auction in February, Brathwaite is still a bit of an unknown commodity. Sammy spoke extremely highly of the young allrounder, whose unbeaten 34 off 10 balls had come on the back of 3 for 23 from four excellent overs. “There’s a reason why he was bought in the IPL, they’ve seen what he is capable of doing,” Sammy observed. “When we lost (Kieron) Pollard, I told the guys he’s one to look out for. The way he’s played not only with the bat but also with the ball, he’s going to be a massive asset for us. He’s improved every game. This is the depth we have in the team. No (Sunil) Narine, no Pollard, (Lendl) Simmons came in late, no Darren Bravo and yet still we won a cup. It shows that we are really good in the format. Again today, the way he (Brathwaite) played under pressure was just tremendous to watch.