Surrounded by the lush forested Beausejour Hills, Saint Lucia’s national stadium is pretty as a picture. This very modern Caribbean cricket stadium seats up to 20,000 and has played host to some top class action.
It was chosen as the venue for the 2007 World Cup semi-final between South Africa and Australia. In 2010’s World Twenty20 tournament it provided the backdrop for England’s successful Super 8 and semi-final matches on their way to victory.
Like many West Indian cricket grounds Beausejour was transformed for the World Cup and new gyms, pavilions and balconies make it a favourite for visiting teams. Beausejour translates as ‘beautiful stay’ and there’s definitely something about the setting that makes you want to linger.
Daren Sammy, modern day Windies wonder
Can the Windies ever dominate the game again? The dazzling days of West Indian cricket may seem a hazy memory but in 2012 there was promise of a new dawn. Re-lighting the torch is Daren Sammy – the first Saint Lucian ever to play test cricket.
This right-handed batsman and fast-medium bowler, made his ODI debut against Bangladesh in 2004. While not taking the meteoric path beaten by some of his predecessors, Sammy has made solid progress towards greatness. On his Test debut against England in 2007, he took 7/66 – the best bowling figures for a West Indian since 1950. Since then his all-round abilities have taken him from useful team member to essential stalwart to captain in 2010.
Sammy is not the flashiest player but can bowl for long spells, drawing on endurance and consistency. He calls himself a ‘workhorse’ and this speaks volumes about an approach which has made the Windies a contender again. Where once the Windies were mercurial now, under Sammy’s guidance, they are more workmanlike.
“We all have roles in the team and I’ve clearly understood what my role is in the team, which is to build pressure and be the workhorse of the team. I’ve accepted that and that’s how I’ve played throughout my career.”
On the way to winning the Twenty20 trophy in 2012, Sammy was worryingly lacklustre. But in the final the workhorse was spurred into action. He notched up 26 not out from 15 balls and took two key wickets for a true captain’s performance.