CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Wednesday April 6, 2016 – The St. Lucia government has renamed the island’s main venue for international cricket matches, Beauséjour Stadium, in honour of Darren Sammy who captained the victorious West Indies ICC T20 World Cup team.
The facility in the north of the island, is now the Darren Sammy National Cricket Ground. It has a seating capacity of 15,000 and was the first ground in the West Indies to stage a floodlight One-Day International.
The announcement came after Sammy and Johnson Charles returned home from India yesterday. A pavilion at the cricket ground, which has hosted international matches since 2002, will also be renamed in honour of Charles.
In addition to leading the team to victory in the finals match against England on Sunday, Sammy headed the squad when the West Indies won their first T20 title in 2012, beating Sri Lanka.
Sammy and Johnson received a hero’s welcome when they touched down at the Hewanorra International Airport just after noon yesterday.
“I am truly honoured, I am humbled and blessed,” Sammy said. “Thank you, we always know St. Lucians love their own…”
After greeting fans who had gathered in and around the airport, the West Indies players took part in a motorcade before heading to a reception at the Derek Walcott Square in the capital, Castries.
After the West Indies victory on Sunday, Sammy had been very critical of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for its failure to support the cricketers.
At the welcome reception in Jamaica for Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor, the country’s Sports Minister Olivia Grange urged the WICB and players to find a common ground in order to return the West Indies to the pinnacle of world cricket.
“Like good parents, the WICB must reposition itself in such a way that its players see the governing body as its chief guardian rather than its Achilles heel,” she said. “The players, too, must also be cognizant that not receiving best wishes prior to an exam doesn’t mean your parents are uncaring or want you to fail.”
The minister said that to prevent the seemingly perpetual disputes, the WICB and players must address the issues and necessary measures put in place to resolve them.
Meantime, in congratulating Samuels – who copped the Man of the Match award in the finals but also lost 30 percent of his match fee for breaching Article 2.1.4 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an international match – Grange said: “Marlon, you are a world class cricketer and proven match winner . . . Continue to speak with your bat, my son, and say nothing else.”
She also acknowledged Taylor’s contribution.
“You might have played only one game in this tournament but as a veteran campaigner your guidance and support to the younger bowlers was crucial,” she said.
Minister Grange said she hopes the World T20 championship win was the start of a West Indies renaissance.