Port of Spain: Legendary West Indies batsman Brian Lara says his decision in the past to select Darren Sammy as a member of the West Indies team was based more on the player's passion for the game and his dependability than cricketing ability.
Lara has revealed that Sammy was one of the last two players he decided to select in a 14-man squad after ignoring suggestions to pick two other players whom he claimed were ill disciplined.
"I remember picking Darren Sammy; not for his cricketing ability, but for the way he carried about himself," said Lara, the former West Indies captain. "We were going to play in a tournament in England and we had 14 players to pick, and after 12, the two players they were asking for I didn't want on the team, because they weren't going to play, but I knew they were going to be very destructive."
Lara was responding to questions from young participants at Monday's start of a four-day symposium at the Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre in Port of Spain. The batting great says his decision to select the St. Lucian allrounder, the current West Indies captain, was also because he could be relied on.
"And I remember picking Darren Sammy and a guy called Sylvester Joseph," recalled Lara. "Darren Sammy at no point in time would have considered himself to be a future leader of West Indies cricket. He was someone who you could depend on."
Sammy has been leading the West Indies team at a crucial time as it struggles to regain its once held status as a world beater. His captaincy has come under intense scrutiny, although he has been credited with uniting the squad which became World T20 champions in Sri Lanka last year.
"He's going to ensure he does what is necessary for the team to be successful. That is the way how a follower can actually help a leader, by being part of a team and willing to make sure that everyone is moving in the right direction," said Lara.
"Today Darren Sammy is captain of the West Indies team and if you are in the dressing room, I've heard, he has the same demeanour and he has a lot of people moving in the same direction he wants to move in."