June 10, 2023

Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy on Monday said that Indian cricketers not playing in overseas leagues contributed to their underwhelming campaign in the T20 World Cup. No active Indian cricketer, contracted or otherwise, is allowed to play in overseas T20 leagues.

Sammy, who led West Indies to two T20 World Cup titles (2012 and 2016), said champions England benefitted from the experience of their players plying trade in leagues abroad, including the Big Bash in Australia.

“The players with experience of playing in T20 leagues around the world really shone. You look at India, who have the biggest T20 league, but their players do not have the experience of the guys who are playing all over the world,” Sammy said in an ICC release.

“You look at guys like Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, guys who play in the Big Bash. It is no coincidence that they (England) excelled in Australia.

“England were the most complete team and they are fitting champions. They showed they were the best all-round team in all their pressure matches.” England beat Pakistan by five wickets in the summit clash at the MCG on Sunday to become the only country to hold both the 50-over and T20 World Cup titles at the same time.

“England have always been able to adapt to what the situation required. Whether it was against Afghanistan in Perth, they did what they needed to get the win. Against Sri Lanka and New Zealand, they upped the tempo when necessary,” said Sammy.

“Against India in semi-final we saw it. In the final, they were dominant. They only needed to chase 137, and they did it. That is maturity in batting line-up, understanding what you need to do and playing accordingly. They were the most adaptable team with bat and ball and they are worthy winners.” Sammy was all praise for star England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who remained not out on 52 off 49 balls in the final, whom he called the “hero” of the England team.

“I am absolutely chuffed for Ben Stokes. He was like a sponge, he absorbed the pressure for England, he absorbed, absorbed and absorbed and then you squeeze and release. That was Ben Stokes in that chase,” said the 38-year-old Sammy.

“I am so happy for him that he stood up in a final. It’s not the first time he has done it. It tells you the mark of a great player because you always find yourself in a position to be a hero for your team. That is what Ben Stokes has done.” It was redemption time for Stokes who was hit for four consecutive sixes by Carlos Braithwaite in the 2016 T20 World Cup final at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

“I think it’s not been fair to him that the one defining over in the 2016 final will always be remembered when you talk about T20 World Cup finals. Since then, he has soared high like an eagle. With the bat, especially, he has had so many great moments in all three formats,” Sammy said.

“That over and the Carlos Brathwaite sixes will be one of the first things you think of when you look back on T20 World Cup finals. It will not be the first thing you think of when it comes to Ben Stokes though. That is a mark of everything he has achieved.”

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