West Indies captain Darren Sammy takes a drinks break during a practice session ahead of the third ODI against India in Ahmedabad. (AP Photo)
New Delhi: A public relations agent who seems to have doubled up as the skipper of the West Indian cricket team – that could be an apt way to describe Darren Sammy. Sammy's cheerful demeanour might be a lesson in stoicism, but unfortunately the results are not there to be seen for a side whose transitional phase refuses to come to an end.
It is all very well for the coach, Ottis Gibson, to defend the players for whom he feels responsible, or for that matter their leader Sammy, but in his heart of hearts, he would surely know that basking in the glory of giving the world champions a run for their money is not the way to go about things.
The habit of throwing away matches that are there for the taking does not seem to be hurting enough, and what is worrying is that the West Indies give the impression of simply being satisfied with the thought of avoiding one-sided contests.
Languishing at the bottom of the ICC one-day international and Test rankings, and having not won a series against the more fancied sides in the recent past has obviously taken its toll, but the West Indies have not exactly done themselves any good by exhibiting a lack of will to get themselves out of the rut.
Sammy's men came up short in the first ODI at Cuttack after having India five down for less than 60 while defending a modest total of 211. It probably slipped their mind that they were not playing hosts, and gave the Indians a lesson or two in hospitality, by allowing them to get over the line.
West Indies also had a great opportunity to call the shots in the first Test of the series at the Feroz Shah Kotla after taking an invaluable 95-run lead in the first innings. However it was all one-way traffic for the home team after that and in the end India managed to win the match quite comfortably by five wickets.
After being hammered by an innings in the second Test at Kolkata, the visitors tried their level best to hand India a series whitewash by being bundled out for 153 in their second innings of the Mumbai Test. Had it not been for some inexplicable cricket by Ravichandran Ashwin in the last over, they might well have been successful in achieving their objective.
Sammy continues to be in indifferent form with bat and ball.
In the first two games of the series thus far, he has got scores of 0 and 2, and his bowling reflects miserable figures of 12.5 overs, 70 runs and one wicket.
His career batting average hardly makes the hair on the end of one's neck stand. In 51 innings, he has two fifties at an inimpressive average of 18.72.
In the Test matches against India that preceded the ODIs, Sammy made 42 runs in six innings at an average of 18.33, though he was the highest wicket-taker with nine scalps at a strike rate of 34.77.
During the 2011 World Cup Michael Holding, the former West Indies fast bowler turned media commentator and analyst, had said this about Sammy:
“If West Indies get it right and field their best possible XI, there will be no room for the captain Darren Sammy. Like Nasser Hussain said recently, Sammy has one role – to come and flip the coin at the toss, and even that he cannot do correctly. Had he not been captain he would not have been in the team.”
By continuing to give Chris Gayle a cold shoulder, it seems that the agenda for the West Indies Cricket Board is to reprimand outspoken behaviour rather than pull up players for lack of performance which definitely is not the way forward if that at all is the intention.