Daren Sammy, O.B.E is an International cricketer from St Lucia who plays for the West Indies. He plays as a right-hand batsman and fast-medium bowler and is a 2 time T20 World Cup winning captain and the only cricketer in history to achieve this feat, having led the team to the victories against Sri Lanka and England respectively in 2012 and 2016. On making his One Day International (ODI) debut v Bangladesh in 2004, Sammy became the first person from St. Lucia to play for the West Indies and made his Test debut in 2007 v England, taking an incredible 7 wickets for 66 runs. Later in his career, he scored his first Test century, again against England and so far in his career has scored over 3 thousand runs and taken over 200 wickets across all forms of cricket. Domestically Daren has played in the Premier leagues in every major cricketing nation and is currently the captain of Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League having led the team to the title in 2017.
Daren told us that growing up, Cricket was without doubt the number one sport in the West Indies and everyone wanted to emulate the superstars of the day. He remembers regularly batting or bowling all day and then the next and so on and the only time anyone was allowed to end the game, was when they got him out or vice versa. Such was his determination, that even when his Mother would call his name for whatever reason, even though fearful, the dire consequences of not responding did not outweigh his passion for cricket and he would carry on and take whatever medicine was coming later. No matter what Daren did, whether playing cricket or throwing stones to dislodge a juicy Mango from a nearby tree, his attitude was the same. No matter what it takes, never ever quit.
Daren grew up in a one bedroom house with 5 people but also In an encouraging environment, but one where others involved in drugs and various bad things could have drawn him down the wrong path, especially during difficult times when things weren’t going his way but through the love of hard working parents, who taught him everything through Church about faith in God, Jesus and prayer, he built a character and trust in God that kept him on track. In those difficult times, Daren said he would pray and know God was always there and that he would get answers. Even though he wasn’t perfect he knew that didn’t matter. He said “I knew and still know now, that with Jesus, you don’t need an expensive phone to talk to him or a big car to drive to get to him, you just need to open your heart and talk to him and within your heart you’ll receive the answers back and that’s prayer, it’s a simple as that and anyone can do it.”
With that solid foundation, despite challenges, he was able to focus on his cricket and was eventually selected for both the St Lucia and Windward Islands U15’s and U19’s and then the West Indies U19’s before going on eventually to captain the senior team across all forms of cricket. All this time, he was simply following his heart and believed in himself no matter what. Even when things were going badly wrong and when his mum told him he had to switch his focus back to an educational career, as it would be impossible to fulfil his dream, as no St Lucian had ever played for the West Indies, he told her to trust him as he would become the first to do so and continued believing. He said, “I realised we can’t always understand what happens and sometimes we just have to leave things to God and he will unfold things that we don’t always understand in his time.” and so that’s just what he did and was rewarded for his faith, as he eventually became one of the greatest cricketers in the world.
Daren said not having much growing up, he couldn’t imagine what it would have been like to have grown up without his parents but knows that you guys can do all the things he did with the right guidance but you have to refuse to accept what others say about what you can and can’t do. He said “I want you all to Imagine what you want to be, then believe in your heart you can do it. Nobody telling you you can’t or even you, saying I can’t. Then just always remember this. ‘Imagine believe and achieve’ it’s what I always say and if you choose to believe God is on your side, you can do anything.”
Daren will now be hoping to help the St Lucia stars win the Caribbean Premier League and then lead Peshawar Zalmi to another title in the Pakistan Super League. He’ll then look to win the T10 championship in Dubai and the Bangladesh Premier league and will also look to defend the team title in the Hong Kong blitz, so it’s going to be an extremely busy few months and we all hope an extremely successful time for Daren as well.