Adrian Frater | Sammy ideal ambassador for Windies Women
When Darren Sammy was appointed Windies captain in 2010, I was one of those persons who thought it was absolutely ridiculous because at the time, he clearly did not have the skill set to command a place on the team, and from all indications, he appeared more of a token leader than the genuine article.
Over time, I grew to appreciate Sammy's leadership, his undying commitment to the region's cricket, and most of all, his loyalty to his teammates, possibly to the chagrin of those who probably hoped he would have been a yes-man for Cricket West Indies, when he was given the job.
In addition to his fairly successful tenure as captain of the Windies team, especially in the Twenty20 (T20) version of the game, where he holds the distinction of being the only captain to have won the ICC World T20 title twice, Sammy was able to win the support and respect of his teammates, something many more accomplished players have never managed to do.
When I read this week that Sammy was recruited to the Windies Ambassador Programme to help promote the upcoming Women's Twenty20 World Cup, which will be staged in the Caribbean, I fully endorsed his appointment. In looking around, I can't think of a more deserving person, especially considering Sammy's positive attitude to all forms of cricket in the region.
I can remember Sammy taking time out to send messages of encouragement to the Windies Women's team in their successful 2016 ICC Women's World Twenty20 Championship, even when his first priority was to focus on the men's team, which also went on to capture the men's version of the competition.
While his record for the Windies might not be as attractive as that of many of the players he has played with, just by virtue of his attitude and commitment to the team, one can fully understand why he is so highly revered in his home country, where the national stadium is named in his honour. The absolute truth is that Sammy is a source of pride, inspiration, and motivation.
In fact, while I have the ultimate respect for the many top-flight international stars we have produced here in Jamaica over the years, I don't get the feeling that, like Sammy, our stars have the mettle required to project them as a source of motivation to our people outside of the playing arenas.
In the instances where we have stars that are ready-made for marketing Jamaica at the highest level globally, as is the case with track and field icon Usain Bolt, we seem not to have the know-how to exploit the various possibilities. In Bolt's home parish, Trelawny, it still remains a mystery to me that there is not a single monument to immortalise him.
It is even more shocking to me that Trelawny, which is struggling to find marquee attractions to support its cruise-shipping product, cannot even find the leadership required to mount a Bolt statue in Falmouth, where the vast majority of cruise-ship passengers spend their time.
Today, Bolt is in Australia, where he is said to be playing professional football. While I know that he is passionate about the game, I strongly doubt that his club thinks that his playing skills are his greatest asset to them. In fact, I rather suspect that they are merely using him to market the team and pull in his supporters, who are still fascinated by his sprinting exploits.
Personally, while Sammy is being used to promote women's cricket, which is part of the strategy to pull fans into the region for the tournament, our tourism stakeholders here in Jamaica continue to behave as though reggae king Bob Marley, despite all his virtues, is the only Jamaican worth marketing the national brand.