Lara: Sammy has a tough job
HAMILTON, Bermuda – Legendary batsman Brian Lara says new West Indies skipper Darren Sammy will face a tough examination when he takes over from Chris Gayle on the three-Test tour of Sri Lanka next month.
Jamaican Gayle was removed as captain earlier this week and replaced by 26-year-old St Lucian Sammy, who has played only eight Tests, in a bid to revitalise the struggling team.
Lara, 41, a former West Indies skipper who came to Bermuda to play in Monday’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf pro-am tournament and also pass on cricket tips to the island’s national team, believes Sammy has an uphill fight ahead.
“It’s a very big job but I know Sammy’s a very committed individual,” Lara told reporters.
“I also know the West Indies captaincy is a different story and a very tough job. You need to be a leader on and off the pitch. He’s certainly going to be testedin that position.
“It’s not an easy role and I’ve seen the likes of Viv Richards, Richie Richardson, Courtney Walsh and Jimmy Adams do the job and not all of them have been successful.”
Lara says he is unsure whether Sammy is the right man for the captaincy and believes there is an absence of leaders in West Indies cricket, both on and off the field.
“It’s hard for me to say (about Sammy) because I’ve not been around for three years and I don’t know what the chemistry is like in the squad,” he said.
“Chemistry of a team is very important. You can have guys who are not top performers being great leaders. You can have guys who are top performers who are bad leaders, so it’s hard for me to say fromthe outside.
“I just hope we start to move in the right direction. We’ve been sliding in the wrong direction for more than a decade. I’d love to see us turn the corner but at the moment I don’t see any leaders.
“Our problems are deep-rooted and not just out on the cricket field. Administratively, things are not going well and I don’t think there’s any plan in place for us to dig ourselves out of the hole we’re in.”
Lara padded up on Tuesday for the first time in months during a net session with around 25 Bermuda national team players at the National Sports Centre.
Lara was rarely troubled by Bermuda’s bowling attack, which included Jim West, Fiqre Crockwell, Joshua Gilbert and Oliver Pitcher, until his final ball when he faced Bermuda women’s player Precious Smith, who removed the left-hander’s middle stump.
As a reward for claiming Lara’s prize wicket, Smith was presented with the bat the Trinidadian had been using.
“It was one of the few balls that was bowled on the stumps!” Lara, who spent half an hour signing autographs at the end of the training session, said of Smith’s wicket-taking delivery.
“It’s nice to see that females are also playing and are interested in cricket. I haven’t picked up a cricket bat in quite some time and it was good to see if I still had it.” (CMC)