A new face always lifts the mood and in welcoming Darren Sammy into their camp the Outlaws couldn’t have gone for anyone with a more upbeat disposition.
The 31 year old West Indian will make his debut against the Jets, whilst on a short stop-over, before returning to play for his native St Lucia in the Caribbean Premier League and he’s clearly relishing the opportunity of again linking up with one of his winter team-mates.
“I’d played with Alex Hales in the Big Bash for Hobart Hurricanes and remember mentioning to him that I’d got a window in my schedule between the IPL and returning to the Caribbean,” he recalls. “So when I heard about this opportunity I was really happy and honoured to be part of this set up.”
It’s clear that the big all-rounder grew close to Hales during their time in Hobart and he admits he’s followed the batsman’s progress closely this season.
“I saw that he’d hit those six sixes off successive balls,” says Sammy. “He’s always been a good T20 player and for a while he was ranked at number one in the world. He’s just spent some time with the Mumbai Indians and to have one of the biggest teams in the IPL interested says so much about his ability. Knowing him he’ll be looking to come back and carry on where he left off.”
Hales blasted an unbeaten 86 against Birmingham Bears on the opening evening of this year’s Blast competition but was still in India when his side slumped to defeat against Yorkshire Vikings last Friday.
He’s back now -and with Sammy also on board the home side will be keen to end a barren run of results against Durham, who they’ve lost to in eight of the last ten completed meetings, across all three formats.
Sammy admits he’s keen to play at Trent Bridge again, the ground where he scored 106 against England three years ago, his only Test century.
“That was a very emotional day because there had been pressure on me with people saying I shouldn’t be playing and shouldn’t be captain and all that stuff. Even though we lost that match it was a great milestone for me.”
The man who led West Indies to their ICC World T20 success in 2012 will play in four matches for the Outlaws and will return if the side make it through to Finals Day in August.
“This is all about coming in, having fun and enjoying playing with my new team-mates and hopefully we can have a little bit of success. The lads are excited and so am I and hopefully by the time I leave we’ll have some good memories together, on and off the pitch.”