Sammy’s dream is for the West Indies to be invincible once again
Having come off a tough series against Australia where they were whitewashed 5-0 in the ODI series before managing to record a 27-run victory over the baggy greens in the one-off Twenty20, West Indies captain Darren Sammy believes his team are still in a good position and added that the entire squad were looking to form a new legacy.
Just last year in April, the West Indies were able to hold the Australians to a 2-2 draw in a highly intense ODI series at home, which Sammy noted his team “should have won”.
“If we look at last year when Australia was in the Caribbean, it was a very keenly-contested series and one we thought we should have won,” Sammy told ESPNcricinfo. “We see this as a continuation of that series and it’s a great opportunity for us as a team to come here and be successful. Yes, we haven’t won a one-day series here in 20 years but we’ve got to start somewhere and there’s no better place to start.”
Dwelling on the legacy he and his team want to create, Sammy noted that his ultimate goal was to make the West Indies unbeatable once again, just like they were throughout the 1980s, where Clive Lloyd was leading the national team, Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge opened the batting, Sir Vivian Richards and Jeffrey Dujon combined to create a rock solid middle order and their pace attack featured such names as Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner and Michael Holding.
“The past teams of West Indies were great, what they achieved during that 17-year period was tremendous,” Sammy said. “We respect our greats, we know our history and we would love to do that. But we are a young, developing team and we are now showing signs that we can not only compete but win against other higher-ranked opposition. Yes, West Indies cricket carries that legacy. But I know all our players would want to form our own legacy.”
Sammy noted that the West Indies have been on a roll since winning the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 last September and added that he was impressed with the performances of the youngsters who have now established themselves as regulars in the squad.
“In the last two or three years we’ve been putting in and pulling out players,” Sammy added. “The youngsters we’ve invested in like Powell, Bravo, Kemar Roach, they are maturing in the game.
“It’s showing some good signs for us. Hopefully, we as a team can continue performing consistently and everybody can play a part in the team’s success.
“The year didn’t finish off well for us in terms of the one-day series in Bangladesh but we did some good stuff last year. Winning the T20 World Cup was the highlight of the year for us. As a team, we gained a lot of confidence from that and we believe that we can go out and win games against higher-ranked opposition. The goal for the team is to start off well and set the tone for the year, which has a Champions Trophy in it as well.”
While the West Indies are without all-rounder Marlon Samuels, who has by far been their most consistent batsman over the past year before he sustained a serious facial injury after being hit by a Lasith Malinga bouncer during the Big Bash League, veteran Ramnaresh Sarwan has taken his place after an exile period of 18 months.
Sammy was pleased to have Sarwan back in the squad, but refused to comment on his disputes with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
“Sarsy is one of us; yes, he’s been out but we always have good camaraderie amongst our players,” Sammy said. “He has fitted in quite nicely. He had a good knock in the practice game and I know he has his goals for this tournament. He’s a class player. We expect him to come out and do well for us. Marlon is a big loss. Since he has been back, he has been very good for us and we will miss him. But I think Sarsy is equally capable of playing that role and stabilising the No.3 position.”