Bitter but not unnerved by the "lack of respect" for his team even back home, West Indies captain Darren Sammy on Saturday said the side's stupendous World Twenty20 run has been possible because of the players' unity in the face of acute adversity.
The West Indians almost did not make it to the World T20 owing to a bitter pay dispute with their Cricket Board. But once here, they showed sublime form to storm into Sunday's final where they will take on England.
"People just paint us as money grabbing cricketers because of our success in Twenty20 cricket. But yes still they don't respect us in that format. We get that sometimes from our own board," Sammy said in the pre-match press conference.
Blasting their critics, Sammy said the more they are castigated, the more they are united. He was reacting to a jibe by former English cricketer Mark Nicholas, who described the Windies players as "short of brains" in an article.
"How could you describe people with 'no brains'? Animals got brains. We're not an object. To me, that particular comment really set it off for us. You could see me talking about it. It's kind of emotional, as for somebody whom I respect and had good rapport with that particular gentleman.
To describe our team who were defending champions four years ago as we guys with no brains is really out of order," Sammy said.
"Everybody is entitled to their opinion. You guys ask most difficult questions to get a good story. We understand that.
The key for us is the belief in our own circle. Whatever they say it does not really matter."
"Gods don't love the ugly and we're very wonderful and very beautiful men that's why we play exciting cricket. For us all these things have happened before the tournament. That's the passion, determination that we take on the field. It's one more step. We believe that we could do it," he added.
Sammy said the contract row with their Board, WICB, in the lead up to the big event, has actually brought the players together.
"It's been a tough journey. A lot happened before the tournament started but I always believed everything happens for a reason. I think the pre-tournament shenanigans brought us really closer together as a team. I don't know whether you have heard it. It feels like it's us against everybody else.
"All these things bring us closer. The fact is few of us are old now so we are aware this could be the last for a few of our key players. That brought us together and we formed our own circle," he said.