Sammy aims for clear signs of progress
LONDON – Darren Sammy said West Indies will be looking to give cogent proof that they have made progress in the last two years, when they face World No.1 England in the first of three Tests, starting on Thursday at Lord’s.
The West Indies captain said his side needed to begin winning to eliminate doubts that they were moving in the right direction and felt that effort could start against the English at the “spiritual home” of the game.
Sammy was speaking at the official media launch of the Test series on Wednesday ahead of an afternoon practice session at the match venue, where the visitors were greeted by sunshine and chilly winds.
The all-rounder, who is very familiar with Lord’s having been a member of the MCC Young Cricketers during his teenaged years, said his side .
“This young team has shown the kind of character and attitude that shows signs we could compete and we’ve been competing against top-ranked teams,” he said.
“It’s about getting victories under our belts and that is something that will come when we play more together and believe more in ourselves.”
“I think we did the best we can [with our preparation]. Our practice matches were affected by rain but the guys got to use the indoors facilities to hit a lot of balls, although it’s different from the actual outdoors.
“But it’s the conditions which we don’t have control over and the guys made the best use of [the situation].”
Sammy said West Indies knew the series would be a big challenge, but they were not in awe of England.
“They are No.1 and we expect them to play like World champions,” he said.
“[James] Anderson just got Cricketer-of-the-Year [in England] and he’s been doing really well.”
He added: “In fact, the whole team, batsmen and bowlers, have been doing well. We left the Caribbean knowing it’s going to be a very difficult challenge.
“But we also know that if we can play well and put runs on the board, we back our bowling attack to get 20 wickets and win a Test match.”
Sammy also threw his support behind the inexperienced opening pair of Adrian Barath and Kieran Powell.
“Seeing off the new ball is very important,” he said. “In county cricket, batsmen have been having trying times trying to see off the new ball, so asking our youngsters to do that is going to pose a challenge against Anderson and (Stuart) Broad and these guys.
“Our batsmen got some match practice in the last [warm-up] game and Powell got a very good hundred, so hopefully he can gather confidence from that and Barath can come to the party as well.
“They’re young, everybody is still learning on the job, so we accept that sometimes these guys will make mistakes, but it’s how quickly you learn. Hopefully, this Test match could be the turning point.”
Sammy also expected all the 15 members of the side to be available for selection, following injury concerns over the fast bowling trio of Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul and Kemar Roach.
“After training [on Wednesday], we will know if we are going to have all hands on deck, but like you heard Kemar [Roach] say, nothing is going to stop him playing at Lord’s, and that is the attitude of all the players,” said Sammy.
“They all want to play at the home of cricket and will put everything aside and come and look to play for West Indies.”