Current International cricketers in St Lucia
Darren Sammy & Nadine George
Go out on the streets with Darren Sammy or Nadine George, St Lucia's most famous male and female cricketers, and you begin to get an idea of just how in-love St Lucia is with the game. The two of them can't walk more than 10 yards without a slap on the back or a friendly greeting.
"Although not everyone thinks of St Lucia when they think of cricket in the Caribbean, people love it here," says Sammy. "When the Beausejour Stadium was built, it really showed how serious we were about cricket, and I think now that we have such a great stadium, more and more St Lucians are beginning to take even more notice."
"The World Cup has got everyone excited," says George. "It will be amazing, people will be talking about it for years and years to come. We can't wait for the England fans and the Barmy Army to arrive."
Sammy, 22, became the first St Lucian to play for West Indies when he was selected for their Champions Trophy match against New Zealand in 2004. Not the best game to make his debut in - it was abandoned without a ball being bowled. His only other appearance was in an ODI against Bangladesh later that year. Predominantly a quick bowler, Sammy is keen to make more of an impression on the selectors.
"Becoming the first St Lucian to play for West Indies was the biggest honour imaginable. It was just amazing, what I'd been dreaming of for such a long time. The reaction from the islanders was special, and it still is. I just hope to be able to break back into the team and get St Lucia recognised."
George also brought the island to life when she became the first to score a hundred for West Indian Women in 2004. "The West Indies women's side has had quite a lot of players from St Lucia, so it's about time the men caught up," says George. "I'm sure having World Cup games at the Beausejour will inspire a lot of our boys to start taking the game more seriously."
Sammy and George spend a lot of time on the island coaching children and introducing them to the game. "Because schools don't have specialist coaches, it's great to meet the kids and show them the basics," says Sammy. "There's a lot of talent out there and they just need a bit of help."
"You should see the way they react around Darren," says George. "They just love him and you can see them watching everything he does. He's a real star around here, and it's just great not only for St Lucia but the West Indies that players from different islands are doing really well."
As the island gears up for the World Cup, Sammy believes the Barmy Army is in for a treat. "St Lucia has great bars and beaches. The England fans will love everywhere around Rodney Bay, the bars, the restaurants and the beaches. There'll be plenty of time to get a bit more brown!"Daniel Brigham is Staff Writer on The Wisden Cricketer
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