Sammy fails to be fazed by hate talk

Sammy fails to be fazed by hate talk

Focussing only on performance, says West Indian skipper

Sammy is viewed as a poor captain by the public, lacking in authority and individuality. The West Indian public is used to larger-than-life figures like Sir Frank Worrell, Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and Brian Lara, and now they have to settle for a man whose batting average is just 16.87 and has taken only 43 wickets from 14 Tests. Ordinary by the standards set by the West Indians.

When Sammy comes in to bat or bowl, a chill spreads through the stands, and only the occasional shouting “get off Sammy” breaks the silence. It’s a strange situation for a national captain, and he could be the only international captain facing such a situation.

When the West Indies scored an emphatic win over Pakistan at Guyana, Sammy chipped in with a five-wicket haul. But that has not helped him gain any authority, and the on-going Chris Gayle-drama has only worsened the situation for him. Sammy and coach Ottis Gibson have been pilloried here for the non-inclusion of Gayle in the Test squad, citing personal differences between the Jamaican and the duo.

“I know there are a lot of questions being asked about my place in the team. But I am concentrating only my performance because if you listen to the talk, then you can’t concentrate on your performance,” Sammy said.

The St Lucia player then used a familiar theory to further defend his position. “When we beat Pakistan at Guyana, and then drew the series with them, everybody was happy. So when your team does well a few ask questions, but it’s natural for people to question, especially the skipper, when your team is not doing well,” he explained.

The general complaint about Sammy is that he does not use his authority as a skipper, and acts on the wishes and whims of the West Indian Cricket Board. Sammy refused to buy that theory. “It’s not a case of I am using my authority. I can only tell the players to go out and perform or the coach can only tell the players to go out and perform. It’s up to each individual to be consistent and help the team to scale the heights,” he said.

The West Indian team management has decided to utilise the expertise of Rudi Webster for the second Test against India to instil more self-belief in the batsmen. “Sometimes, we don't handle the pressure and opposition well. We bat well, get into good positions and then collapse. So, when we are in that situation, we need to rise above it. That's a mental issue. Hopefully, what the doc is doing will work for us. He is trying to build some confidence in our batsmen,” Sammy said.

There was a hint of desperation in Sammy’s words. He knows this could be the last straw as another defeat will strengthen the calls for his ouster.

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