Tendulkar celebration won’t sidetrack us, says West Indies captain

KOLKATA, India — Darren Sammy said West Indies have no intention of allowing Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell from the game to overshadow their main mission on the tour of India.

The Windies captain reaffirmed the enormous respect Tendulkar has earned over an international career spanning more than two decades.

But Sammy said the visitors’ ultimate goal in India was to continue their winning streak and prove that they had matured since they faced India two years ago on the sub-continent.

“Sachin is an amazing cricketer, if not one of the best cricketers to have played the game, and what he has done over the last 24 years is a testimony to his character and person himself,” he said at the official arrival media conference on Wednesday here.

“But we are happy to be here and we came to play Test cricket. Even though it is Sachin’s retirement, we have our own goals to achieve. It will be a lot of excitement and celebration, but at the end of the day, it’s a competition between West Indies and India.”

Sammy added: “I have read a newspaper article that made me probably public enemy number one, after putting [that we wanted to dismiss him first ball] as the headline. We all respect Sachin, but just because it’s his last Test, we are not going to give him a hundred.

“If he comes to bat and we get him out first ball, it’s good for us. We have not come here to give freebies. We have come to play two tough Tests because I know the Indians would not be giving us any freebies, so why should we.”

Sammy led West Indies when they visited two years ago and India prevailed 2-0 in a three-Test series – but a few established players were missing.

He said the Windies had a more experienced side on this trip, including a few of the players that had been part of the previous series, and he was confident of pushing the home team in the upcoming Tests.

“The last time we played here, we had a number of young players and Shivnarine Chanderpaul was our only experienced batsman,” he said.

“We had young players like Kirk Edwards, Kieran Powell and Darren Bravo who barely had a handful of Tests between them – but now we have Marlon Samuels, Chris Gayle and other players that have come here and played well.”

“We have come here more mature, having won six consecutive Tests, so we have a lot more experience this time and we are looking to come out here, be competitive and win matches.”

West Indies open the tour against state side Uttar Pradesh on Thursday at the Jadavpur University Complex here.

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