DAR­REN SAMMY SACKED AS WEST INDIES CAP­TAIN

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Terry Fin­is­terre, SNO Sport Cor­re­spon­dent

Dar­ren Julius Gar­vey Sammy has been dropped by the West Indies Cricket Board as cap­tain of the re­gional team, of which he first took the reigns in 2010.

The 32-year-old all-rounder from Du­gard has been one of the most suc­cess­ful lead­ers of the West Indies cricket team in all three for­mats of the game. He was pre­vi­ously re­lieved of duty as cap­tain of the Test and one-day in­ter­na­tional teams over the past two years, but in 2012 and 2016, he led the Caribbean out­fit to glory in the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil World Twenty20 Cham­pi­onships, the only cap­tain to lift that tro­phy twice.

Dar­ren made the an­nounce­ment on Fri­day morn­ing via a lengthy Face­book post.

He started out by thank­ing the fans and play­ers who have been part of the Saint Lu­cia Zouks jour­ney in the 2016 Hero Caribbean Pre­mier League, the first time the Zouks have made it into the top four teams. In typ­i­cal mag­nan­i­mous fashion, he wished the teams re­main­ing in the com­pe­ti­tion all the best. But Dar­ren quickly got down to the meat of the mat­ter.

“This post here is for you the fans,” he said. “Six years ago I was asked to cap­tain West Indies, a task which I thought would be the biggest chal­lenge in my ca­reer, in my life, a task which I knew would be so difficult.

“But, guess what, I took it head on. I em­braced the chal­lenge. I em­braced the dif­fi­culty. I turned up at the of­fice, which is my play­ground, the cricket field, every day, and I put in the work.

“It started with [for­mer West Indies head coach] Ot­tis Gib­son, I want to thank you, buddy, for be­liev­ing in me. And now it has ended up with Phil [Sim­mons, present head coach].

“So to my play­ers all over the years who have been part of the team and who have played un­der my cap­taincy, I want to thank you for all the sup­port. “We have had our ups and downs, but I have never given up hope, I have never stopped be­liev­ing in myself and in the team. That was what I was about as a cap­tain, try­ing to in­still a pos­i­tive, never-say-die at­ti­tude in my team, and the re­sult, we’ve won two World Cups.”

Dar­ren ex­plained that he got a phone call last­ing no longer than 30 sec­onds on Thurs­day from re­cently in­stalled con­vener of se­lec­tors, Court­ney Browne, ad­vis­ing him that not only would he not be lead­ing the Caribbean team for two up­com­ing T20 in­ter­na­tion­als against In­dia in Florida, but that his per­for­mance did not merit his (Dar­ren’s) se­lec­tion in the team. Dar­ren is the only player in the top 10 West In­di­ans in both run scor­ing and wicket tak­ing in this year’s edi­tion of the Hero Caribbean Pre­mier League.

But the now for­mer cap­tain, the first and only Saint Lu­cian ever to play Test cricket for West Indies, and the first from his is­land ever to play for the re­gional team in any for­mat of the game, re­mained gen­er­ous and big-hearted as ever. “I’ve al­ways be­lieved West Indies cricket is not about Dar­ren Sammy. I want to wish the new cap­tain all the best as he looks to lead West Indies cricket and take it for­ward.”

He con­cluded by stat­ing that he would be able to ded­i­cate more time to the Dar­ren Sammy Foun­da­tion, which is in­tended to help de­velop young emerg­ing ath­letes, and not­ing that he has al­ways played with a smile, which will con­tinue to be the way he ap­proaches life.

Said Dar­ren: “That smile no­body can take it away from me. My mama gave me that smile!”

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