Darren Sammy is a powerful reminder of why we love cricket

Andrew Young Roar Pro

By Andrew Young, Andrew Young is a Roar Pro


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    The Howie Games has become my favourite podcast, as Mark Howard shares upwards of an hour in open, honest and often heart-felt conversation with some of the greatest sporting stars on the planet.

    With a focus often on what goes on away from competition, listeners are given a wonderful insight to the lives of elite sportspeople.

    In September 2016, West Indian international Darren Sammy was the feature. The archetypal Windies entertainer on the field, Sammy’s story highlights the beauty of cricket in every sense.

    Sammy was raised on the island of St Lucia, in a Christian family that often struggled to put food on the table. He recalled that they always found a way, however, reminiscing with affection the times he would nick mangoes, bananas and plums from neighbours.

    These humble beginnings, combined with an emphasis on love and discipline, form the basis of his childhood memories. Additionally, Sammy recalled that his mother didn’t want him playing cricket, as the weekend was holy and a time for rest, not competition.

    At the age of 15, Sammy and a friend would take the bus into town to trial for the St Lucia U15 team. With $2 to spend on four loaves of bread and a soft drink, they would play their hearts out, return home to a beating from mum, and do it all again next week.

    Leaving school at the age of 16, he dreamt of playing with his heroes, assured that if he made West Indies team by the age of 19, he’d be able to bat in the same team as Brian Lara.

    Sammy soon became the first St Lucian to represent West Indies, captained his side to two World T20 Cups, and took the reigns in the Test arena.

    After losing the Test captaincy in 2014, he retired from the game’s longest format, and the day after the podcast was recorded, he was sacked as captain of the T20 side.

    Despite this, an aura of positivity surrounds the all-rounder, which makes him one of the game’s most fascinating characters.

    Discussing the touchy subject of West Indies’ long-term prospects in Test cricket, Sammy lamented the present situation, suggesting egotistical characters on both sides are hampering progress.

    Although he is “very scared” that West Indies may not feature in long-form cricket in 20 years’ time, he believes that they can dominate the short form, and create a legacy for years to come.

    Sammy has far exceeded all of the dreams he had as a young man, and has done it all through cricket. Be it with bat or ball in hand, a smile and a fierce desire to get the best out of himself has characterised how he goes about life and sport.

    As the lines between cricket, money and entertainment continue to blur, revisiting our fundamental passion and love for the game can provide much-needed clarity and context.

    Cricket might not bring the riches of lucrative T20 contracts and sponsorship deals for us all, but it can light up a weekend, a summer, or a lifetime.

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    The Crowd Says (1)

    • February 14th 2018 @ 12:32pm
      Pope Paul VII said | February 14th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

      Onya Dazza. A real fighter.

      Love Howie’s work too.

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