KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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West Indies legend Courtney Walsh says he is 'not expecting miracles' from former MCC Young Cricketer Darren Sammy’s side, despite a superb start against Sri Lanka.
A blistering, unbeaten double century from Chris Gayle and half centuries from Adrian Barath and Darren Sammy took the visitors to 362-2 on day one in Galle.
Gayle, in his first Test since being removed as captain, powered the effort, smashing 26 fours and eight sixes on his way to 219* from just 247 balls.
Long road to success
Speaking from the famous Lord's Tavern however, Walsh warned Sammy that more testing times will be ahead.
"This tour could be a very testing tour from him." said Walsh, who took 519 wickets in 132 Tests for West Indies and is now a Member of MCC's World Cricket Committee.
"West Indies are not on an easy road. Everyone wants to see us moving forward at the rate of knots but this tour could be one where we see how much the guys learn.
"I’m not expecting miracles but I would like to see at the end of this tour that we are heading in the right direction - that we’re competing and learning from our mistakes and staying focused on the job at hand."
Sammy, a YC in 2003 and 2004, was controversially appointed captain in October despite not being a regular in the Test side.
Walsh however, backed the 26-year-old to make his mark in the Test arena.
"He has a chance of leading from the front and cementing his own place at the same time.
"Darren is a good guy, a good character and I think his heart is in the right place and he’s going to give you 100% which is a big plus.
"The only negative side is that he wasn’t commanding a permanent place in the team and there have been questions about his ability to make the team.
"But I think you know what you’re going to get from him and he’s going to give you 100%."
Blessing in disguise
Gayle was removed as captain after refusing to sign a central contract with the West Indies cricket board.
He was included in the squad to play under Sammy however, and despite speculation over his commitment to the cause, Walsh believes returning to the ranks has benefited him.
"I think he has answered all the critics who said he would not be supporting Sammy or not being properly committed to the team. I think he has proved them wrong." added the 48-year-old.
"Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that the captaincy is not on his shoulder any more and he can just relax and play his natural, normal game. I wish him all the best.
"Hopefully he can go on and get a really big score and take us to victory because a lot of people did not expect us to do that well in Sri Lanka."