COLOMBO, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Leading West Indies to their first World Cup title since 1979 gave Darren Sammy a chance to hit back at his critics but the all-rounder preferred to forgive them and talk about a possible resurgence of cricket's former superpower instead.
Sammy's rise to captaincy and his place in the side have often been questioned by critics, including former players, but the 28-year-old silenced them all on Sunday.
Sammy hit 26 runs off 15 balls and then returned to claim two Sri Lankan wickets as West Indies emerged as the new World Twenty20 champions.
"I never worry about the critics," Sammy, the first player from St Lucia to captain West Indies, said in the post-match presentation ceremony.
"I go by one way in my life. I say if Jesus Christ... never did a thing wrong but yet still he was crucified, who is Darren Sammy? That's the way I live my life.
"Everybody will have an opinion but when I go out there on the field, I go on to play for this crest," said the ever-smiling player, tapping on the West Indies logo on his shirt.
"...as long as I go out there and put a hundred percent, that's what matters to me," he said.
West Indies are a pale shadow of their former self, having ruthlessly dominated the game in the 1970s and 1980s, winning the first two 50-over World Cup.
Their glory days well behind them, West Indies rank seventh both in the test and one-day rankings but Sammy expected Sunday's victory to trigger a turnaround.
"The last decade we have been through a lot... this hopefully would be the beginning of things to come, a step in the right direction," he said.
"Hopefully this team would go on. We won't say we are back but it's a step in the right direction. Hopefully we can maintain the team spirit and make the Caribbean people proud.
"I know it's a party from Jamaica down to Guyana. Thank God it's a Sunday. If it was a weekday, nobody would be at work. It means a lot to the Caribbean people." (Writing by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)