If there were ever any doubts, this World T20 Championships has only confirmed what is obvious to any fair-minded and objective person, and that is, that Darren Sammy has to go. His position, always questionable in the past, is now certainly untenable. Sammy has looked out of depth in both the bowling and batting department so the allrounder tag in his case is clearly misplaced. As for his captaincy, it has been painfully obvious that the West Indies team has the weakest captain of all the other Test-playing nations—Stuart Broad of England, AB de Villiers (South Africa), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (India), Mohammad Hafeez (Pakistan), Ross Taylor (New Zealand), George Bailey (Australia), Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka) and Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh). For all of the publicity efforts of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Sammy is not the right person to be the West Indies captain anymore.
As many have remarked, a captain should be among the first set of players to automatically be selected to any team based on merit and thereafter should be one that can inspire and lead his team with both personal performance and also intelligence. Sammy, sadly, is lacking in all these departments. While the West Indies may have reached the semifinals thanks to another never wrenching performance with a dramatic super-over victory, there is so much that was wrong with that win that it is surprising the team actually got it right and won. Perhaps the New Zealand captain was correct when he said his team should have won in 20 overs. Without a doubt, the decision to bowl Marlon Samuels in the super over was wrong, particularly as his one over before (incidentally the last of the match) allowed 13 runs to New Zealand.
But Samuels was still entrusted with the ball and conceded 17 runs including a wide. This even though Sunil Narine finished with figures of 4-0-20-3 including the 19th over where he conceded one run and captured a wicket. Now listen to Sammy after the match in the interview: “I think we’ll stay for a while after and watch the next game very closely. Marlon Samuels is my go-to man in pressure situations, he’s suffering from a bad shoulder so that’s why he doesn’t bowl more,” said Sammy. Yes, those are the words of Sammy: “Samuels is his go-to man,” so this means even when others are bowling better and Samuels looks dodgy, our very smart captain Sammy will “go to” Samuels. This is just shambolic and to think that this man is the captain of all of the West Indies teams in any format of the game. Next up, for the West Indies, thanks to Sri Lanka’s victory over a brave England team, will be a semifinal battle on Friday morning at 9.30 am (T&T Time). At the moment, it looks as if Australia will be the opponents of the West Indies team, and after rain ruined the first encounter between these two teams, it promises to be a mouth-watering contest.
The West Indies batted well in that match but bowled poorly before the Duckworth Lewis rule had to be enforced. However, since then, the bowling has improved a little with the introduction of Samuel Badree’s spin and his miserly bowling at the start of an innings has helped the West Indies in the only two matches they have won outright in this series (England and New Zealand). It will be interesting to decide on which 11 players will represent the West Indies on Friday in this crucial encounter at the Premadassa Stadium in Colombo, which has generally favoured the batsmen in the past. One thing must be certain though, and that is that Andre Russell must never be sacrificed so early in the innings against a team as he was on Monday, batting at number three, where he looked out of his depth. It is these silly ideas that are made into reality by a West Indies management that looks incapable of sensible appreciation of circumstances and situations.
Clyde Butts, the convener of the West Indies selection panel, needs to call Gibson and have a frank and open discussion with him over some of the players selected for the various matches. It is also extremely important that Dwayne Bravo returns to this team, so let us all pray that his injury is short term. This is a player with a lot of fire and charisma that can lead from the front with both bat and ball. I would also stand Johnson Charles down at this time even though he played so well against England. It is time for Dwayne Smith or even Lendl Simmons to be introduced at the top of the order with Chris Gayle. If Dwayne Bravo returns, because unfortunately we cannot omit Sammy, then Russell will have to be left out as well. Whatever happens, the West Indies are in the semifinals and one match away from Sunday’s grand final, so it will be all about how they adapt and how they perform as a team with leading individuals playing their part and who knows, the dream of another trophy after 2004 Champions League, still exists. Let us hope and pray that the real West Indies finally show up on Friday and then on to Sunday. We need something to smile about in cricket, don’t we?