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Got to play our A game: Sammy

- ‘The team which executes plans better will win’

Colombo: Darren Sammy, the ever-smiling West Indies captain, spoke to the media in general and, later, to The Telegraph exclusively on Thursday afternoon.

The following are excerpts

Thoughts on the eve of the World Twenty20 semi-final against Australia...

We’re backing ourselves... It should be an exciting match and, hopefully, we’ll come out on top... We’ve been treating it (the World Twenty20) as a 100-metre hurdles... We have two hurdles to overcome.

Australia having won the group league match on the D/L Method...

That was an unfortunate situation.

Yuvraj Singh having tipped the West Indies to make the final...

It’s good to hear that... Generally, after their own team, the Indians support the West Indies... I’m thankful to Yuvi.

If the West Indies have been playing to potential...

We haven’t been playing our A game, but have still reached the semi-final... We have an opportunity to do so on Friday and, if we make the final, then on Sunday as well. We’ve got to play our A game... Once we play to potential, once everybody clicks, we will be a (more) destructive force.

On what could make the difference...

A special catch... Guys in the middle making the right decisions... Look, the West Indies and Australia are evenly matched teams. I do believe that the team which executes its plans better will win. To be that team, we’ve got to play our A game.

The Chris Gayle factor...

But it’s not only about Chris, who gives us the momentum... Sure, one or two players may produce that something extra, but it will have to be a team effort... A collective effort.

Response from the players...

When people think we’re down and out, somebody has raised his hand to get us over the line. If it comes to that, it will be the same on Friday as well.

No.1 reason for the West Indies getting thus far...

Hard work and self-belief... We know we can perform and compete... We’ve instilled a positive, can-do attitude in our set-up. As I’ve said, we haven’t been producing our best game, but still are in the semi-final. We’ve come thus far, it’s all about going further. We’d like to win for our fans back home... If we do, the win will be dedicated to them... Cricket unites the Caribbean.

The unity within...

It’s one team and it has one mission — to win the World Twenty20. One people, one team, one goal... The more you work together, the better you become and the more you achieve. We’ve been doing well, but there’s always room for improvement.

Performing the role once played by the late Sir Frank Worrell and Clive Lloyd...

Oh, I’m not in their league... Definitely not... However, I’m doing the best I can... I and my team take pride in playing for the West Indies.

If his team has drawn inspiration from the stellar show by athletes from the Caribbean in the London Olympics...

Of course... The coach (Ottis Gibson) even mentioned it during our build-up for this tournament. Athletes from Jamaica may have made the biggest headlines, but there was rejoicing across the West Indies... Everybody took pride in their performances... This is another step for us as a Caribbean team, to bring more smiles on the faces of people back home.

The West Indies women, too, making the semi-final and facing Australia...

I’d like the women to set the trend for us by winning their semi-final... We could follow suit!

Finally, on Yuvraj having battled cancer...

(Emotionally) I’m very happy for Yuvi... Very happy at the way he has come back, it has been remarkable... I wish him well in the future.