This counters suggestions from several leading cricketing personalities within the region – including former Test players Brian Lara and Bryan Davis. They believe Sammy, captain of the Caribbean’s Test and T20 teams, does not have the quality to hold down a first-team place.
“He is a big part of our team. The word that he should not be a part of our team is from the media and people outside the team. For me, he has an important role in the team, especially with the likes of Kieron Pollard and Chris Gayle out. He is a main member in our set-up and for as long as he is playing,” said Bravo, while speaking to reporters on the eve of the third and final one-day international against India at Green Park.
The decisive match began at 10:30 p.m. last night (9:30 p.m. Eastern Caribbean Time), with both teams locked 1-1 in the three-match series.
Sammy, an allrounder, has been largely out of form in all formats of the game for the West Indies in recent times. However, he hit an unbeaten 63 off 45 balls, to steer the regional outfit to a nerve-racking two-wicket victory in Sunday’s second ODI, with three balls to spare.
“He has been out of form and has been struggling, and it’s important for us as a team and for me as captain, to give him support. We know what he has done for us previously, so it’s to continue to encourage him because he can be a match-winner on his day, like he showed in the last game.”
Bravo added: “If we had listened to what had been said, we would have left him out of the last match and we would not have won the game. Sammy is very important to us. He also brings a positive vibe into the dressing room and I would … want someone like him around at all times.”
Bravo also commented on the team’s overall perfomance in the last game, as well the confidence it gave the team to win the third ODI.
Four batsmen – led by Darren Sammy with an unbeaten 63 – collected half-centuries in the second ODI to inch West Indies over the finish line. The others were Lendl Simmons (62), Kieran Powell (59) and Darren Bravo (50). It was a huge improvement in their batting, but still no one carried on and made the first hundred of the trip.
Bravo said this was not a major concern, as long as each batsman made a contribution to the team’s success.
“It is good they are getting starts, some of us are not even getting that,” he said. “It is good for us that four of them got 50s and we had a few good partnerships to put us in a situation to win the last game.
“This was important, rather than one person carrying on, making a hundred and we are losing. Four or five batsmen getting half-centuries and putting the team in a position of strength so that we can win games, I will take that any day.”
Bravo, however, urged the young Windies batsmen to emulate the opposition’s batsmen in their desire to score heavily.
“We have a very good relationship with the Indian team, not only their captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but with Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin. We have learnt a lot from them.
“I encourage the young West Indies batsmen to learn from the Indian batsmen, particularly the hunger they have for runs. I want guys like Darren Bravo, Kieran Powell and Johnson Charles to learn from them because it’s a learning process for all of us.”
A win in the third ODI would hand the Windies their first ODI series victory in a decade over the Indians, or any side ranked higher in a bilateral series on foreign soil.
“For me, I will keep encouraging the guys and let them understand the importance of winning a series in India against the No.1 ODI team in the world. All I can ask of my guys is to be consistent and give another good showing of themselves to make our people proud.”