Sammy says Windies players still best at shorter formats

Darren Sammy

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, CMC – Two-time World Cup-winning captain, Darren Sammy, says the plethora of West Indies picked up in the T10 League draft is an indication of the Caribbean’s strength in the game’s shorter forms.

The former West Indies Test captain, who now plies his trade exclusively on the global Twenty20 circuit, will lead the Northern Warriors comprising players like Khary Pierre, Lendl Simmons, Obed McCoy, Rovman Powell and Kennar Lewis.

West Indies players, including Twenty20 captain Carlos Brathwaite and superstar Chris Gayle, are otherwise scattered across the eight teams for the November 23 to December tournament set for the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

“It’s just so good to know so many West Indians are being picked up in the draft, especially from the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League – Khary Pierre, Sherfane Rutherford Bengal Tigers), Fabian Allen (Kerala Kings) and young Obed McCoy getting a look in in this format,” Sammy said following Monday’s draft.

“I think the shorter format over the last two decades we’ve always done better. In the last three T20 World Cups we’ve been in at least the semi-finals, and won it twice (2012 and 2016). [In] one day cricket we were last in the final in 2006 in the Champions Trophy in Asia.”

West Indies once dominated world cricket, especially during the late 1970s and 1980s, but have languished in the doldrums over the past two decades.

In fact, West Indies have not won a Test series against top tier side since they beat New Zealand six years ago in the Caribbean and were also forced to play a qualifying tournament last March in order to reach next year’s World Cup in England, after finishing outside the top eight in the rankings at the September 30, 2017 cut-off date.

Sammy believes, however, that the shorter formats can produce the type of development required for West Indies to flourish again in the longer formats.

“If we can produce young cricketers coming through [from the CPL] like we’ve seen since the inclusion of the IPL – the youngsters India have produced, also Pakistan and Bangladesh – and now you see Afghanistan and the way they are rising,” the all-rounder pointed out.

“It shows there is development that could happen through the shorter format of the game and hopefully for West Indies we could continue that and transfer that form to one-day first and then Test cricket.”

The T10 League, similar to the popular Twenty20 formats, is a fast-paced version of the game which came on stream last year with much success.

Sammy said he expected the second season to be just as entertaining,

“T10 last year it was an amazing tournament and I’m looking forward to this. It’s just excitement,” he noted.

“I call it like highlights cricket. It’s like you’re watching the highlights package from a game. It’s just sixes and fours and the wickets coming.”

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