ST JOHN’S—Sir Viv Richards, one of cricket’s finest ever captains, has thrown his support behind Twenty20 skipper Darren Sammy in his decision to slam the West Indies Cricket Board for their lack of support for the squad during the recent Twenty20 World Cup in India.
In a rare flirtation with controversy during the post-match ceremony following Sunday’s final, Sammy said the team felt “disrespected” by the WICB and had not heard from the Antigua-based organization during their successful campaign.
“I don’t think Sammy would be a liar. I think Sammy is as honest as they come so it is going to be quite interesting, going forward, to see and to hear exactly what comes from the board,” Sir Viv, who never lost a Test series as West Indies captain, told the Observer newspaper here.
He continued: “Sammy did what he had to do. It was on his mind and you could see what he said meant a lot; it came from the heart. In my mind, it looked like something planned.
“Anyone who knows Darren Sammy knows that he is an individual and how he would have led West Indies cricket from his very start as captain, and sees how committed he is. So I am pleased, in a big way, that he was able to get it off his chest.”
Prior to the squad’s departure for the pre-World Cup training camp in Dubai, Sammy found himself at the centre of a brief impasse between the players and the WICB over remuneration for the tournament.
Acting as the players’ representative, Sammy labelled the pay offer “totally unacceptable” in a letter to the board and asked for a return to the previous pay structure.
The proposal was rejected by the board who said the agreement had been already hammered out with players’ union, WIPA.
West Indies created history at the T20 World Cup when they swept both the men’s and women’s titles last Sunday. The women downed three-time defending champions Australia Women by eight wickets while the men followed up with a sensational last-over four-wicket victory over England.
Sir Viv, who averaged 50 in 121 Tests between 1974 and 1991, said the board now needed to harness the energy from this achievement, along with that of the Under-19s success at the Youth World Cup earlier this year.
“There are some hungry folks out there and especially with the excitement with what would have been created from the three versions like the Under-19, the women’s factor then the men doing what they did on Sunday,” Sir Viv said.
“The interest would certainly be there, so we need to try and get into some areas where we haven’t tapped before to try and find some of these fast bowlers that maybe, can help to make a difference in the future. I don’t think enough of that would have been done in the past.”