Darren Sammy wears his heart on his sleeve, smiles even in defeat and is generally a cool cat, so it can well be imagined what he was like when he fronted up after leading the West Indies to their first world title in 33 years.
The West Indies did win the ICC Champions Trophy 2004, but Sunday’s triumph (October 7) in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 2012 was their first world crown since victory in the ICC Cricket World Cup 1979. “We will definitely cherish this moment, I will for sure,” said Sammy. “We’re going to relive it every day of our lives. This is the best moment for me in any cricket. This here (the trophy) is for the Caribbean people. West Indies fans all over the world have been craving success. I know they’re partying from Jamaica down to Guyana. And we know how to party. I think they’ll need a lot of bartenders.”
“This is definitely a step (towards reliving the glory days of West Indian cricket),” said Sammy. “We believe we can win matches. We’re not trying just to compete any more. We believe we can win against good opposition. We showed signs of that in the last year or so, but we were not winning. Hopefully, this can be the start of something good for the West Indies team and the people.”
Sammy again stressed on the belief that courses through his team’s ranks. “First of all, we have a strong belief in God. You know, he works in mysterious ways. He performs wonders,” said Sammy. “Like I kept saying in every press conference, there’s a belief we had in the team. Yes, we expected them (Sri Lanka) to give us a good fight and they did. Throughout the last year or so, we’ve been showing that never-say-die attitude, but we’ve not been winning games. In this tournament, we’ve won games. Every man believed that whoever was out there could do the job. Today, it was Marlon Samuels and (Dwayne) Bravo steadying the ship. In the end, every run counts. The bowling discipline was just brilliant, and the fielding. I said we needed our A-plus game, this here is proof of it.”
The West Indies, Sammy said, were quietly confident of their chances after posting 137 for 6. “While the match was unfolding, the coach was saying that if we get the score we got in Pallekele (129 for 5 against Sri Lanka) on this wicket, we’ll win the match,” revealed Sammy. “The momentum we had from our batting carried through to our bowling. It was Dwayne Bravo’s birthday, so in the huddle, I gave him the chance to say the last words before we went on the field. He said: ‘Let’s go out there and give it our all’. If we do that and play how we can play, these runs are going to be a fighting total. Ravi (Rampaul) started it off with his first ball, and we never looked back from there.”
Sammy has had his credentials questioned by several people but in his moment of glory, he chose to be typically modest. “I’ve said it many times that I play for the people. The commentators get paid to speak. The media get paid to write stories. I get paid to play cricket,” he said. “And I always say I live my life one way. Christ came to this earth, did nothing wrong and yet was crucified. I’m nowhere close to that man. Anybody could have an opinion about me. I like it. My shoulders are broad enough. It’s been like that from the time I started cricket. Once I wear this crest (pointing to his shirt), I wear it on my heart. That’s what matters. If I turn up and don’t have a good day, I suck, I’ll come the next day and try and put in a better performance. I don’t play for glory. I play for the Caribbean people.”
The big guns in the dressing room had instilled the belief in the team that they could go all the way, Sammy said. “When you look at what’s in the dressing room … I answered many questions about us being favourites to win. We have some of the most experienced Twenty20 players in our team,” said Sammy. “Once we play the way we can, we’ll always be a force to reckon with. We didn’t brag about it but we believed we could go out there and take it one game at a time. I said hurdle by hurdle, and today was the final one. The coach said we’re climbing to the top of a mountain, and that’s where the prize is. We’ve got to go and take it. Today, we did that. We had different persons coming up with performances in different matches. The team has gelled well in this tournament. Signs of progress have been there, but this is the icing on the cake.”