St. Lucian and former West Indies captain Darren Sammy, led a Pakistan team to a championship win, amid political controversy.
On Sunday, Sammy led team Peshawar Zalmi to the Pakistan Super League Twenty20 title, with a 58-run victory over the Quetta Gladiators.
Sammy – who twice led the West Indies to the World Twenty20 title, was among 9 foreign cricketers who agreed to travel to Lahore, Pakistan, following a series of politically motivated bombings – including one in Lahore at that killed at least 13 people.
More than 8,000 security officers, policemen, and soldiers were deployed around the stadium for the final – which had more than 22,000 people in attendance, and the 9 foreign players were kept under 24-hour tight security.
The players were criticized by Pakistan cricket legend Imran Khan who said the government only held the tournament to distract from its corruption. Khan called the foreigners money chasing, third-class, “unknowns picked from Africa”, and said Darren Sammy was not a major international cricketer like Jamaica’s Chris Gayle or England’s Kevin Pietersen.
Fans slammed Khan and defeated Sammy – who became a fan favorite in Lahore, calling the remarks derogatory, insulting and racist.
Darren Sammy didn’t respond to the comments, but instead posted a video of him having his head shaved, fulfilling a promise he made if his team won.
Pakistan has not hosted a major Test-playing nation since 2009 when an attack on a Sri Lanka team bus — also in Lahore — killed seven policemen and injured several Sri Lanka players.