Emotional Sammy knocks WICB
KOLKATA, India (CMC):
Captain Darren Sammy courted controversy here yesterday when he hit out at the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for its lack of support following his side's capture of the Twenty20 World Cup.
Speaking after West Indies stunned England by four wickets to clinch the title at Eden Gardens, Sammy told post-match presenter Nasser Hussain that while the team had been inspired by the professionalism of the management staff and messages of support from Caribbean nation grouping, CARICOM, they had heard nothing from board officials.
"I really want to thank the heads of CARICOM. Throughout this tournament, they have been supporting the team. We've got e-mails, we've got calls," Sammy said.
"Prime Minister (Keith) Mitchell (from Grenada). I know what he is trying to do and I really want to thank him. He sent a very inspiring message for the team this morning ... and I'm yet to hear from our own cricket board. That is very disappointing."
He continued: "For today, I'm going to celebrate with these 15 men and coaching staff. I don't know when I'm going to be playing with these guys again because we don't get selected for one-day cricket.
"We don't know when we're going to be playing T20. So, this win, I want to thank you, my team, I want to thank you, coaching staff ... everybody knows West Indies are champion!"
The comments come against the backdrop of the players' contracts dispute with the WICB before the start of the tournament back in February, which threatened the side's participation.
Sammy acted as the players' representative during the brief impasse and while he assured the Caribbean then that West Indies would commit to playing the tournament, he also hinted that the issues were far from settled.
Yesterday, he once again alluded to the impasse, noting that the "disrespect" shown to the side by the WICB, along with other criticisms from media personalities, had helped to fire up the team.
"We started this journey ... we all know we had (issues). People were wondering whether we would play this tournament," he explained.
"We had a lot of issues, we felt disrespected by our board, Mark Nicholas (cricket analyst) described our team as a team with no brains (in a pre-tournament preview). All these things before the tournament just brought this team together.
"I really want to thank these 15 men. The ability to just put all those adversities aside and to come out and play this type of cricket in front of such passionate fans, it's just tremendous."
Sammy also praised newly installed manager Rawl Lewis, who, he said, went to extraordinary lengths to sort out some administrative difficulties during the pre-tournament camp in Dubai.
"I personally also want to thank the coaching staff. Coach Phil (Simmons), he's been through a lot, and to come here and the way he's coached the team, he's just brilliant," Sammy noted.
"All the other coaching staff who have done their part. We had a new manager in this tournament in Rawl Lewis. He had never managed any team before. He came here, we were at a camp in Dubai, but we had no uniforms, no printing.
"He left Dubai, went to Kolkata. That's where we started. The trouble he went to, to get us in this uniform, I've got to give credit to the entire team here. It was us in our own little circle. This win we dedicate it to all our fans in the Caribbean."
West Indies became the first side to win two T20 World Cups when they defeated England by four wickets in the final at Eden Gardens here on Sunday.