Sammy’s not sour
Typical team man he is, Darren Sammy has pledged his “unwavering support” to fellow all-rounder Dwayne Bravo who was yesterday named to succeed him as West Indies One-Day International (ODI) captain for next month’s Champions Trophy in England.
Sammy retains his place in the 15-member squad announced by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and will continue as Test and Twenty20 captain.
Wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin will be Bravo’s deputy for the June 6-23 tournament in England.
Also selected in the squad are rookie Barbados fast bowler Jason Holder, experienced batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan and the Windward Islands pair of Johnson Charles and Devon Smith, who was the leading batsman in the just-ended Regional Super50 Championship.
Kieran Powell of the Leeward Islands was not considered for selection due to a finger injury, paving the way for the recall of Smith, who played the last of his 42 ODIs in which he averaged 26.68, two years ago against Pakistan.
Sammy, who is currently having his maiden stint in the Indian Premier?League, immediately congratulated Bravo and said he would give the new ODI captain his full support.
“He can be assured of my unwavering commitment to the team and our plans to be champions of One-Day cricket,” said Sammy, who has taken 69 wickets in 92 ODIs at 42.4 runs apiece and scored 1 143 runs at an average of 21.16.
In accepting the job, Bravo, who led the side to a 3-0 home series win against Zimbabwe earlier this year when Sammy was rested, said he was honoured and truly humbled to have been appointed.
“I am really looking forward to the opportunity to lead a great team that has a combination of young talent and experienced players . . . .
“The brand of cricket that I intend to bring is a never-say-die attitude and I am really looking forward to the opportunity,” Bravo said.
“I must say congratulations to Sammy in his leadership of the team and I am very happy to be taking over from him. I am even happier that he remains in the team and I am looking forward to working with him along with the team management and all the players, especially vice-captain Denesh Ramdin, Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Kieron Pollard and Marlon Samuels,” Bravo added.
Bravo has appeared in 137 ODIs, scoring 2 311 runs at 23.82 and capturing 160 wickets at an average of 30.
In explaining the decision to have separate captains, the WICB revealed in a press release that the selection panel, chaired by Clyde Butts, recommended to the board of directors that Bravo be appointed captain of the One-Day team and that recommendation was approved.
“Our results in Tests and T20s have been showing consistent improvement and Sammy deserves every kudos for the work he has done in leading and moulding the team in these formats. We remain confident in his leadership in these formats and will recommend that he continues as the captain for Test and T20 cricket,” Butts said.
“However, our ODI results have not been as strong and we believe that it is best that we freshen the leadership of the team in this format,” he added.
Sammy led the West Indies in 51 ODIs, winning 19 and losing 30 with one no-result and a tie.
Under his leadership, the regional side triumphed in only one ODI series outside the Caribbean (2-1 over Bangladesh in 2011). They were beaten in their last four overseas series – 4-1 in India in 2011, 2-0 in England and 3-2 in Bangladesh last year, 5-0 in Australia in February.
Butts said Bravo was an experienced, seasoned and senior cricketer who had demonstrated leadership qualities. He has captained the West Indies in a Test match in South Africa while in 10 ODIs as captain, he has won and lost five.
“He has served as West Indies vice-captain and has had some success when he has led the West Indies team on occasions. We believe that his transition to the position of captaincy will be a smooth one,” Butts said.
“We have every confidence in Bravo as the leader of the ODI team and while his first assignment – the Champions Trophy – will be a challenging one we believe he will receive the full support of the players and the team management for a successful campaign.
“The decision will also allow Sammy to focus on the Test and T20 formats as captain while he will remain in consideration for One-Day cricket as an all-rounder.”
Butts said the squad, which has a strong combination of experience and emerging talent players, is capable of doing well in the tournament.
“We have some of the most accomplished cricketers in the world along with some young talent who have shown tremendous promise and quality and we believe that the team will gel well, play as a unit and do the Caribbean proud,” he added.
“We have shown confidence in the players who have served well in both the batting and bowling departments and have identified some young players such as Jason Holder and Johnson Charles who add quality to the squad.”
Holder, 21, has played in two ODIs while Charles has smashed two centuries in the last two innings of his 11 ODIs.
There is no room for all-rounders Dwayne Smith and Andre Russell while off-spinner Sunil Narine is the only specialist spinner in the squad.