Sammy adds to doubts over credentials
NONE of his predecessors has endured more relentless doubting of his position than West Indies captain Darren Sammy.
It has been based mainly, but not exclusively, on the question of whether, as all-rounder with a modest record, he merits his place in the XI, especially as his initial appointment was for four consecutive series, whatever his performances.
That he is St Lucian has also raised the charges, unjustifiable as it may be, from cynical quarters over the perceived influence of his fellow St Lucians, West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Julian Hunte and chief executive Ernest Hilaire in his choice.
In the circumstances, Sammy has earned much widespread respect for the composed manner in which he has coped with the most challenging and complex position in world cricket at a time of the West Indies' continuing problems.
Much of that would have been compromised by his inconceivable action at the end of the third day of the current Test against New Zealand in Antigua on Friday.
Sammy came to the wicket with four overs remaining after Denesh Ramdin was sixth out, dragging one from Doug Bracewell into his stumps. Even before Daniel Vettori began the final over, Sammy had removed his helmet, placed his gloves inside and held it under his arm, stationary as a statue in the non-striker's crease.
The message was clear. It was even clearer when he refused Deonarine's palpable single to cover off the second ball.
The captain–yes, the captain--was not prepared to face another ball. His partner, the last of the recognised batsmen, would have to see the day out, as he did.
Whether out of character or not, it was a thoughtless dereliction of responsibility. It can only be presumed what those under him made of it. Deonarine would have been rightly cross had he been that one refused run short of his maiden Test hundred at the end. And can others in the same position follow suit in future?
Sammy's action was hardly that of "a mighty warrior confronting global force with his team of little heroes" or that of "the Worrell-like figure, leading a youthful West Indies team", as Sir Hilaire Beckles, a prominent member of the WICB executive, recently described him.
Perhaps it was an aberration but it has added to the doubts over Sammy's credentials as captain. –Tony Cozier