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Happy riddance!

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Many West Indies Cricket fans must have given a sigh of relief to see the back of Chris Gayle as Captain of the regional institution.

The announcement came last Sunday, when St. Lucian Darren Sammy was named as Gayle’s successor.{{more}}

Whatever Sammy does, he cannot be worse than Gayle.

Gayle, in my estimation, from my 35 years of paying attention to West Indies Cricket, must be the worst ever.

Set aside his record since taking over the leadership role in 2007. Gayle, who has led the West Indies to three wins in 20 tests as captain. The team now sits seventh on the ICC Test rankings list and eighth in the ODI rankings. His record off the field is not much better.

But we all understand that West Indies Cricket is weak, very weak, but Gayle did not help lift us out of the mire off the field.

His explosive batting, with some sparks of brilliance, especially in the shorter forms of the game, has certainly helped us. But his achievements are more personal, as he has been able to fetch a high ask at the many lucrative T/20 tournaments around the globe.

With his captaincy, Gayle had taken the once noble responsibility of the leadership of the regional side to its lowest state in my knowledge of the regional game.

Gayle’s demeanour, deportment, and overall approach to the job was one of nonchalance.

The transgressions of Gayle were limitless. He cursed the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), selectors, and who’s who in West Indies Cricket at will.

Outspoken, one may say, but where was that diplomacy required of a West Indies Captain?

Surely Sammy’s elevation to the top spot is mainly by default after the elimination process took place.

Gayle and Dwayne Bravo had refused to sign retainer contracts with the WICB, Shivnarine Chanderpaul has had a stint, but everyone knows he does not have the acumen.

Ramnaresh Sarwan, a former Captain, and Vice Captain, is not seen favourably in the eyes of some, as not having the right professional attitude, hence he was not offered a central contract.

So going back to him would have been a regression.

In fact, Sarwan has been left out of the team for Sri Lanka next month.

Denesh Ramdin, once a groomed leader, and who was Vice Captain, has fallen out of favour with his glove work, attitude and returns on the field, and he, too, was not given a central contract.

Now, enter Sammy, who is not expected to turn the fortunes of a beleaguered team around, but exhibit a level of statesmanship that his predecessor Gayle solely lacked.

Certainly, Sammy as Captain of his native St. Lucia and the Windwards has shown that he possesses such poise.

His energy, his tenacity and willingness to give his all for his nation all come together to make him the right choice.

Surely, Sammy’s aura should be infectious and create a spirit of hope and self belief in his charges.

His job will certainly be tough, with all the insularity that is present, but not beyond his capabilities.

Sammy should have been given the job since July of last year, when Gayle and company turned their backs on West Indies Cricket over contract row.

For the record sake, Sammy did not join the band of renegades.

The 26-year-old St Lucian all-rounder averages 19.40 with the bat and an impressive 27.74 with the ball in his eight Test matches since 2007. In his debut against England, Sammy ended with match figures of eight for 98 after grabbing seven wickets in the second innings.

His figures may not ignite the record books. In his 43 ODI’s, Sammy has gathered in 508 runs at an average of 24.19. His wickets in ODI’s number 31, at 43.06 each.

In Cricket’s shortest form, Sammy has scored 140 runs at 15.55 runs per innings and has taken 24 wickets at 14.95 per wicket.

What does this do for Windward’s Cricket? The President is St. Lucian in Julian Hunte; the Chief Executive Officer is also St. Lucian in Ernest Hillaire, and now Sammy, Captain. Who would have thought that many moons ago?

I wish I could say happy riddance soon when that Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field is completely removed.

email: kingroache@yahoo.com

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