Excelling in the finishing role, building pressure with his dot-is-as-good-as-gold philosophy and sharing some trade secrets with a friend and team-mate from the St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League, Henry Davids, would form part of Darren Sammy’s approach to the Ram Slam T20 Challenge. Sammy, captain of the T20-team of the West Indian Islands, arrived in South Africa on Thursday and will feature for The Unlimited Titans in the domestic T20-competition this season. The Titans will play against the Nashua Cape Cobras in Johannesburg on Sunday in the season-opener.
As a belligerent lower-order batsman, Sammy averages 16.65 in 55 T20-matches for the Windies, while capturing 43 scalps. He can be very miserly with the ball, but a destructive hitter of sixes, dismissive of all types of bowlers (almost in David Wiese-fashion). One of five West Indians that will be involved in the triple-header on Sunday, Sammy said, “T20 cricket is something we enjoy. My teammates and I are excited to be here. Who wouldn’t be? South Africa is a wonderful place to play cricket. T20-cricket is all about expressing yourself. The West Indians have taken this style of cricket on board. I think I will like to play in South Africa, where the ball comes onto the bat quicker.”
Kieron Pollard (Cape Cobras), Dwayne Bravo (Sunfoil Dolphins), Andre Russell (Knights) and Chris Gayle (Highveld Lions) are the other players to add Caribbean flavour and flair to the competition. Asked about his style of batting and his role in the Titans team, Sammy said the T20-format is about momentum, and he would love to finish. Yet, the situation, as well as the discussion with the captain and coach about his role, will ultimately determine how his contributions are defined.
Sammy said he is looking forward to share tactical acumen with the Titans captain, Davids, a teammate from the St Lucia Zouks whom he considers a friend. Roelof Van Der Merwe also featured for the Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League during the past South African winter. “I am not short of cricket, as we played in India (in a series which was abandoned mid-tour due to a standoff between the West Indian Cricket Board and the West Indian Players Association). I don’t really want to talk about the (abandoned) tour. We have always engaged well with India, and we have had a good relationship with them,” said Sammy.
Sammy has taken 102 wickets in 133 T20-matches while plying his trade all over the world, and he believes that experience as leader and player will help him to adjust quickly to the pulsating T20-action in South Africa. Probed about his bowling role, Sammy said he has never been one to actively pursue the wickets-column. “I have always tried to bowl dot balls. As we say: a dot is as good as gold in T20-cricket. If I bowl dot balls, I build pressure,” he added.