Sammy calls on West Indies batsmen to rise to the occasion

Darren Sammy pinning his hopes on the batsmen to come good in second Test against India AFP

By Paul Mitchell

Bridgetown (Barbados): Jun 28, 2011

West Indies captain Darren Sammy said that an improved batting performance is the only way for his side to beat India in the second Test, starting on Tuesday at Kensington Oval here.

The hosts suffered a batting collapse in the first Test, conceding a first innings lead of 73, and though they made the highest total of the match in the second innings, they fell 63 runs short of the victory target of 325 at Sabina Park in Jamaica.

“We need to bat properly,” he said.

“We cannot fault the bowlers for bowling India out twice for under 260.

“The thing we did wrong (in the first Test) was not put runs on the boards. For us to win, our batsmen need to come to the party.”

Concerned about the mental toughness of their ailing side, West Indies brought World-famous sports psychologist Rudi Webster on board to work with the team for the duration of the Test.

Sammy welcomed his arrival, and hoped he could spark the lost confidence that has bedevilled the players throughout this series and the Pakistan matches before this.

“He is just here trying to help restore the confidence of the players, mainly our batsmen, and the guys will have to open their minds to take in what he is bringing to the table,” he said.

“Hopefully, we will see the batsmen playing a lot more confidently. We have to start somewhere.

“Throughout the past few series, apart from the first Test in Sri Lanka last November, our batsmen have been struggling for a little bit.

“We know the coaches and the management staff are doing all that they can in order to give us the best chance of going out there and performing. Webster’s inclusion can hopefully work out for the best.”

Sammy also said he was long overdue a meaningful innings for the side, preaching the power of personal responsibility.

He scored a quickfire 25 in the second innings in the first Test, striking three successive sixes of Harbhajan Singh.

“I have to bat as well, and for me, personally, it’s about going out there and doing whatever it takes for the team to win and be in a good position,” he said.

“From that side, I want to put runs on the board as captain, and continue with my other role of being the workhorse, or stock bowler, but still pick up wickets.

“I have to contribute with the bat. It has been affecting me and the team not being able to put the scores that I want on the board.”

Sammy also felt he and his teammates had to learn about how to seize the moment, hoping Dr. Webster would help them in this regard to have more confidence to take control of match situations.

“The opposition, the pressure, and the situation of the game, we probably do not handle it as we should,” he said.

“We have been batting well, and we are in good positions in recent matches, but then collapse. It has been something that has affected us.

“So it is about when we are in that situation, rising above the pressure, and that has been a mental failure, and a confidence thing.

“I would love us to play consistent cricket. Meaning, once we create the opportunities to be on top, we stay on top.

“Maybe we get too relaxed, or maybe, we haven’t got into those positions consistently in the past to know how to be able to put the nail in the coffin.

“It is something we have been working on, and hopefully, we can put all three disciplines together in this crucial game.”