Since being thrust into West Indies captaincy in late 2010, Darren Sammy has been the subject of a constant debate with many questioning his place in the playing XI in the first place, let alone leading the side.
Back-to-back match-winning knocks in the World Twenty20 and two games away from defending the title he led West Indies to in Sri Lanka two years ago, the ever-smiling cricketer from St Lucia seemed to have finally settled the debate.
“Last four years have not been a bed of roses but I keep on enjoying what I do for West Indies and it’s good to see performance coming consistently,” Sammy said of his rich form ahead of Thursday’s semi-final against Sri Lanka.
The first cricketer from St Lucia to lead West Indies was philosophical explaining why enjoying the game meant more to him than captaincy.
“For me it has never been about whether I’m the captain or not. I just enjoy playing for West Indies. Not many people get to wake up in the morning and do something they love. I have a lot of friends who probably don’t want to get up in the morning to go to work.
“It’s all about West Indies for me. It’s never been about Darren.”
Team mate Dwayne Bravo felt Sammy had finally found his role in the playing XI which boosted his confidence and reflected in his recent performances.
“We are missing someone like (all-rounder) Kieron Pollard who, over the years, has been that go-to person in the later stages of the game,” Bravo said after Tuesday’s victory against Pakistan.
“In Pollard’s absence, the coach always mentions that someone has to step up. Sammy has been working hard on his batting and he played with a lot of confidence and I think the team gave him the confidence.
“Most times he comes to bat, our backs are against the wall and we need a big innings from him and he delivers more often than not. He’s a very strong guy and led from the front.
Out there to entertain
He is also intense, despite his ever-smiling countenance. “By nature we all are laidback individuals,” Bravo explained. “We play for the fans. We actually come out to entertain. (It’s) important that we all have a smile on our face, understand the importance of not going overboard, to play with a lot of passion.”
Sammy has a natural sense of humour too, which was evident when reminded that he was stripped of 50-over captaincy after winning the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
“If we win this tournament, probably I won’t be Test captain,” he quipped.