HOVE, England – Darren Sammy said West Indies were well aware of all the challenges that confront them on their tour of England. But the West Indies captain said his side had no intention of backing down from those challenges, and were quite prepared to work hard for whatever success they can achieve during the three-Test series against the hosts. “I think we are coming from a tough series [against Australia] in the Caribbean,” Sammy told reporters attending the West Indies’ official arrival media conference on Thursday at the PROBIZ County Ground here.
“We have played some good cricket in the year-and-a-half, and we are quite confident we can come to England and play well, so everyone is looking forward to May 17, when the real thing starts. “It’s never [an easy thing] to play England on home soil. They are quite a strong team when they play in their own backyard. What I can tell you about our side is that we will come and play with a never-say-die attitude.”
Sammy said his side would prepare well for the battle and felt the presence of West Indies coach Ottis Gibson in the dressing room was a massive asset for the visitors. “[England] are No.1 and whatever weaknesses they may have, obviously they will try to strengthen it,” he said. “But we will focus on what we can do. “We have a good coach and he has a lot of experience in England, so I know he will make sure the information in the dressing room is clear and we will try to execute our plans. “It is good having him in the dressing room and the guys are slowly, but surely buying into what he is trying to instill in this team.”
Sammy added: “We have been taking 20 wickets over the last year-and-a-half, and I must give the coach credit for this. All of the bowlers have commended him for the work he has done with them. “We are a much improved bowling unit and the conditions in England aid fast and swing bowling, so I am quite confident our guys can put the English batsmen under pressure.” Sammy said he was more at ease with himself and the position of West Indies captain, developing his own style to cope with his own performances and the players around him. “I try to make sure the team is relaxed,” he said. “If you have a clear mind, you can go out there and perform better. “I have developed a formula for myself in which I could play and I worked out that once I play my way, the aggressive way, I get more results this way.”
He said: “On the field, I try to understand my bowlers, what makes them tick, so I can help them be able to go out there and perform – whether it be telling them a joke or something to get them fired up, I will do it. “As a team, the culture and the environment is very good, and the players are starting to shape up as a family. The job is getting easier and easier, and hopefully on this trip, we can do what is necessary to be successful as a team.” West Indies arrived in England on Wednesday and open the tour on Saturday with a three-day match against the Sussex Sharks at the PROBIZ County Ground. The England pair of left-arm spinner Monty Panesar and wicketkeeper/batsman Matt Prior have been named in the Sharks’ 12-member squad for the match. Rain however, hampered West Indies’ preparations for the match, restricting the visitors to a training session on Thursday in the Farnrise Indoor School at the same venue.