New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) West Indies captain Darren Sammy exhorted his teammates to draw strength from their past World Cup winning teams and play their match against South Africa Thursday with passion and pride.
Sammy said the team is in touch with some of the West Indian legends like Vivian Richards and Clive Lloyd, captain of World Cup winning sides in 1975 and 1979, for motivation.
“Everyone wants to see West Indies go out and play with pride and passion. They want to see that fight and passion we had back in the 70’s and 80’s. We are aware of that and as long as we go out there and execute our plans, fans back home will be happy,” Sammy said.
“There are messages from sir Viv (Vivian Richards), I have spoken to Clive Llyod. We have a manager in Richie Richardson whose last match was the semifinal of the 1996
World Cup here against Australia. There are quite a few past players who are in contact with the team, giving advice. We will keep their advice in mind and try to apply.”
The all-rounder said this West Indies team has potential matchwinners, but they need to be consistent.
“You have to be consistent and win at least four games to make it through to the knock out stage. Look at the combination of our team, we have a lot of potential matchwinners. They just need to get their act together.
“Our challenge is to keep our feet on the ground, go out there and to perform to the best of our abilities. There team is confident that we can get the job done. We have to do it step by step. South Africa will be the focus tomorrow.
“There is lot to play for. West Indies have won the first two World Cups and we know what we have to do. If we play to our full potential who knows what will happen.”
Sammy said their past results against South Africa, when they lost 0-5 last year, will count for nothing.
“Cricket is played on the day. We still have to go out and perform. Every game is a big match in the World Cup. We can’t take anything for granted.”
Sammy played down concerns in the bowling attack and said he is satisfied with the combination of the squad.
“The selectors have picked a good team. There are quite a few allrounders, spinners, we have a well balanced attack.”
“Spinners have played an important role in the games that we have seen. We will consider all these while deciding on the team combination.”
Asked how will he manage a team that has four former captains — in Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnaraine Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo — Sammy said: “It is good to have experience in the side. Gayle, Chanderpaul, Sarwan, Bravo are players who inspire younger players. Having such a bunch is of a big help.”
Sammy, who lived in the shadows of his more illustrious teammates, feels he can handle the pressure of captaining a side.
“I have been representing my nation for six years and I have handled the pressure. Yes, I need to be more consistent in my performance.
“It is a massive honour to be in the West Indies team, let alone lead the side. I know the great legacy and history that come with it. Every game I play for is like the first game. Cricket is one unifying force for West Indies people.
“I will be batting in the second part of the innings and my job is to put on good partnerships with the bottom players. While bowling I have to be economical and as a leader I need to inspire the guys, make decisions and keep them going. It comes naturally to me.”