Gros Islet, St Lucia – Two legends of West Indies cricket have hailed Windward Islands captain Darren Sammy for the gesture of withdrawing an appeal at the end of last Friday night’s Caribbean T20 match against Guyana.
Courtney Walsh – one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time – and Desmond Haynes – the illustrious opening batsman – noted that Sammy’s was a shining example of “leadership, sportsmanship and the true spirit in which the game should be played”.
“It is really good to see the Windward Islands and West Indies captain showing such mature leadership in a pressure situation. I was very, very happy that our West Indies captain demonstrated the true spirit of the game and he should be commended for his action on the field of play,” said Walsh.
“That was a great example to youngsters around the Caribbean and around the world watching. Sports have served as a unifying force in the West Indies and in the world. Here was a guy, who is a leader in world sports, demonstrating by his example how it should be done,” added the former Jamaica and West Indies captain.
Walsh is the leading wicket-taker in West Indies cricket history and at one stage held the world-record for the most Test wickets. He played 132 Test matches and ended his career with 519 wickets at an average of 24.44 runs per wicket.
Haynes said: “What Sammy did was outstanding, in my view, and he should be praised for the stance he took at that stage of the game. Cricket, and sports in general, is not just about winning. It is also about how you play the game and your role as an ambassador.”
Haynes made 7,487 runs including 18 centuries in 116 Test matches between 1978 and 1994. For a long time during that period he formed the game’s greatest opening partnership with compatriot Gordon Greenidge, and they shared 16 century stands in Test cricket.
“It is easy to get caught up in the moment when things are going on all around you and lose focus of the situation. It requires a cool head and a lot of focus to keep you nerve and stay calm at such a gripping stage of any game,” added Haynes, a former Barbados and West Indies captain.
“Sammy has been a fine example since he took over the captaincy of the West Indies team and continues to demonstrate good leadership and is a positive influence in West Indies cricket. We saw his immense contribution during the World Cup win [ICC World T20 Championship] and he showed us it again on Friday night.”
Off the last ball of the final preliminary match, Guyana needed one run to clinch a play-off spot. A wicket and/or dot ball would have taken the contest into the One-Over Eliminator.
Guyana’s batsmen Veerasammy Permaul and Steven Jacobs ran a leg bye off the final ball, to see Guyana to a dramatic four-wicket victory. There was an original appeal against Permaul for obstructing the fielders, as he was hit by the return to the bowler’s end, but Sammy quickly withdrew the appeal.
Guyana won the gripping contest and went on to beat Jamaica in the Play-off on Saturday night. Trinidad & Tobago beat Guyana in the Grand Final by 9 wickets to win the tournament for the third consecutive year.