Darren Sammy said West Indies continued to show signs of a competitive edge, despite losing the first Test against England by five wickets on Monday at Lord’s here. The West Indies captain said he was “quite pleased” that his side had pushed the World No.1 Test side, but he felt there were areas where his side could tighten up, making them even more ready for action in future battles.
“We were told there were no fifth-day tickets printed,” said Sammy. “. . .But we took the game into the fifth day. The team continued to show the never-say-die attitude which we promised to bring out here in England. And we had some good performances from some of the players. We’ll take these positives into the next Test.” Sammy said the players had gotten used to pundits playing down their chances, but the side had time and again defied the odds to give their opponents quite a scare. “We are kind of used to it now,” he said. “For the last 10 years, they have been saying that about us. We in the dressing room have our own confidence that once we go out and execute, if we bowl in a disciplined fashion, we create problems.
“We got the last seven wickets [in the England first innings] for 130-odd runs. So we could do it. But it is about doing it consistently enough. And when you are playing against the No.1 team you have to be at your best all the time.”
Sammy refused to be drawn into the debate about where World No.1 Test batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul should bat in the order.
He said the focus should be less upon Chanderpaul and on the other batsmen learning from the veteran left-hander about placing a high value on their wicket.
“Shiv is quite an experienced player, so if he says something he has a lot of reasoning for saying it,” said Sammy. “He has done an excellent job for us at No.5 and he continues to do this. I more want our batsmen to take a page out of his book instead of [discussing] where he should bat. He could bat higher, get out early, and it would be a different story.”
“Right now, what needs to happen is our batsmen have to stand up and bat, and set a platform so when he comes in, he could play his game and we all can bat around him.” In this regard, Sammy included himself and he noted that his dismissal late on the penultimate day of the Test may have been a key moment.
“I think I let the team down in that department,” he said. “I was striking the ball quite well when the field was spread. If I had batted for the rest of the evening, it would definitely have been England chasing 250-plus. That could have been the difference. The bowlers made the best out of defending 191. But once the ball got older, it became easier to play, and the calibre of batsmen in the England side, they played the situation quite well.”
He added: “I liked standing at slips, watching these guys, our pacers, running in and knowing that anytime an edge could come my way. It just felt right. . .Our pacers have been doing a good job for us throughout the last year or two. . .A few more wickets between them – and it could have been a different story.”