Sammy becomes Peshawar head coach, steps down from captaincy

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LAHORE: Darren Sammy will no longer captain Peshawar Zalmi and will instead move upstairs to take over as head coach instead, it was announced on Thursday.

In a major mid-season reshuffle, last year’s finalists also announced Wahab Riaz is to take over as full-time captain, while Mohammad Akram, who was the head coach until now, will continue as director of cricket, as well as serving as the franchise’s bowling coach.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the tremendously popular Sammy has played his last game for Peshawar Zalmi, however. Peshawar said he would serve as head coach-cum-player for the next two years, suggesting he may still have a role to play on the field.

However, Mohammad Akram, who made the announcement, was clear that his role with Peshawar was primarily as head coach, now. “Daren is very close to my heart, and the Zalmi family’s heart,” Akram said. “It took a little persuading to come to this decision. Daren will be the new head coach of Peshawar Zalmi starting today for the next two years. His contract is already as a playing coach, so if the committee feels he’s in the form to play, he can take the field as well. But from today, he is head coach first.”

For his part, Sammy’s remarks suggested the decision to make the move had not been a completely harmonious one. Calling the decision “difficult” and insisting he was fully fit this season, he accepted he needed to do what the team required.

“As a player, it’s always difficult to make the transition,” he said. “As Akram said, we are a family, and throughout the years of playing and leading this franchise, we have shown it’s not just a cricket team but a family. The truth is the last two years I’ve played not fully fit. This year, I feel I’m ready to go, but if there’s one thing that made Peshawar Zalmi what it is, my message is to do what’s necessary, what’s best for the team. As a leader, I feel I’ve demonstrated that.”

Suggestions of some disagreements brewed when Sammy posted a cryptic tweet hours before the side’s game against Karachi Kings on Monday, saying: “I’ve learned you are important until you’ve completed your role”. When the game began, it was Wahab instead of Sammy who led the side, the fast bowler saying Sammy was “resting”.

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