Peshawar Zalmi skipper Darren Sammy is no stranger to taking his team to championships. The star all-rounder led the West Indies to two T20I World Cup wins, and lifted the glittering Pakistan Super League (PSL) trophy last year.
This year as well, his team Peshawar Zalmi is in the finals, and he is just one more win away from becoming the champion captain (again).
Sammy’s heroics are well-documented in the PSL. Along with his cricket and his leadership, his personality has won millions of hearts in Pakistan. When the decision was made to bring the PSL final to Lahore last year, Sammy was the first foreign player who agreed on travelling to the country. Not only did he come to Pakistan himself, he also convinced other teammates to do the same.
Pictures of Sammy enjoying the sights and sounds at the Gaddafi Stadium last year are etched in the minds of cricket-lovers in Pakistan. Who can ever forget the 34-year-old West Indian donning the traditional pagri and looking as if he’s belonged to Pakistan forever? Or how about those traditional dance moves with Hasan Ali and other players in front of a roaring crowd of thousands at the Gaddafi Stadium?
This year, Sammy has been struggling with a recurring knee injury, but it couldn’t (nothing could!) stop him from being right in the middle of all the action. Cricket fans were left in awe after a limping Sammy walked out onto the pitch and powered his team to victory against Quetta Gladiators on March 1.
Towards the end of the tournament, Zalmi were in a must-win situation in their last two matches. Never the one to back down, Sammy led his team on one leg straight into the playoffs. The team continued its winning ways and under Sammy’s leadership, Peshawar Zalmi are once again in the final.
May the best team win! But Sammy’s undeterred love for Pakistan and the Pakistani fans has already made him the champion of hearts.