Love For Cricket Doesn't Buy You Groceries: Darren Sammy, West Indies' T20 World Cup-winning Skipper
West Indies, two-time champions (2012 and 2016), couldn't even qualify for the Super 12s at the 2022 T20 World Cup
"It hurts man, it hurts." Darren Sammy's eyes tell it all, the moment he was asked about the terminal decline of West Indies cricket. The Caribbean team hit the nadir at the ongoing T20 World Cup as the two-time champions (2012 and 2016) couldn't even qualify for the Super 12s. As a double T20 World Cup winning skipper, Sammy is bound to be frustrated and angry. But at the same time, he is pragmatic enough to understand the practical difficulties which includes not enough financial security offered by Cricket West Indies (CWI).
Sammy is very clear that unlike BCCI, the West Indies board can never stop its players from choosing franchise leagues over playing for the assortment of island nations. "India is strong because they can tell their players that you don't play anywhere else. You have to understand that they have the money to back it up," Sammy told PTI in an exclusive interview on what ails West Indies cricket.
"An India A list contracted player could probably make a million dollar a year (Rs 7 crore plus match fees plus TV rights money) compared to a Windies A lister, who would earn USD 150,000 (Rs 1.2 crore roughly) .
"That's a massive difference and obviously the question of pay (disparity) will always come up. It's very difficult for smaller boards (in terms of financial might) to keep their players together when they are handsomely paid elsewhere," Sammy said without mincing words while hitting the nail on its head.
A sportsman's peak period is a short one and it's no longer an amateur sport where passion was the biggest ration for men in flannels.
"Gone are those days when you played for love. Love doesn't buy you groceries from supermarket," said Sammy bluntly.
He feels that CWI can learn a thing or two from how New Zealand Cricket has dealt with this dilemma.
"So, it's a tough period. I think NZC does it quite well (no international cricket scheduled during IPL). If NZC can do it, it comes down to communication. It's upto the players and the boards to get a working system." A commitment in a professional relationship demands certain kind of sacrifices.
"If you say, you are committed to me (player to board or vice versa), then some level of sacrifice has to happen. You can't be committed to me when nothing else is available for you."