Cricket is a great game, a gentleman’s game. West Indies cricket represents the true nature of cricket, the marvellous and exhilarating spirit of the game. West Indians not only play cricket, we love cricket, and we live cricket. In fact, there are sketchy references to cricket being played in the Caribbean as far back as the late 18th century.
Slowly, West Indies cricket was becoming known as a powerful force in international cricket. Trailblazers such as George Headley, the 3W’s (Weekes, Walcott, Worrell), Sir Garry Sobers, Clive Lloyd, Michael 'Whispering Death' Holding and Viv 'Master Blaster' Richards became the cricketing icons of their time. The next generation of West Indies cricket featured greats such as the brilliant batsman Brian Lara, and sensational bowler Courtney Walsh.
The Current Team
Despite its former glory, the West Indies team is of a much lower profile today. Despite the genius of Brian Lara, the team slid from grace in the 1990s, as the source of their fearsome firepower had died away. However, the team has since then featured great players such as Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Darren Sammy and former captain Chris Gayle. These men have done much to carry on the legacy of Caribbean cricket.
Twenty-Twenty and World Cup 2007
With the introduction of twenty-twenty cricket, The West Indies have played with varied results, some victories, numerous losses and sometimes been beaten ruthlessly. In 2007, the Caribbean hosted the Cricket World Cup, much to the disappointment of Caribbean fans after a poor showing by the home team.
Many believe the team lacks sportsmanship, confidence, dedication and the will to win. Others believe that with squabbles with the embattled West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), internal issues, frequent banns, resigns and quits, the outlook for West Indies cricket is bleak.
Further allegations of corruption and bickering among factions have created even more worries for the team. It is obvious that the future holds serious consequences if this path is continued.
Despite the odds, there is yet hope for West Indies Cricket. To this day, the potential for cricketing greatness remains, but rarely delivers. Young cricketers such as Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, Jerome Taylor, Daren Powell, Fidel Edwards and Kemar Roach are the new superstars. To their credit, they have done well to steadily raise the team's playing standard.
Nevertheless, there are glimmerings of a new beginning for West Indies cricket. The future lies in the hands of youngsters across the Caribbean who believe in the future of West Indian cricket and understands that the future lies in their pride and love for the game. Organisations such as the WICB Grassroots Cricket Program, which encourages and fosters the participation of young aspiring cricketers in the game, is a good start. These youngsters must realise that we need ferocious fast bowlers and expansive, free hitting batsmen who will simply destroy their opponents.
The rise and fall of West Indies cricket is a fascinating tale of triumph versus adversity, a fall from grace, then a new beginning. This revolution needs that same vision and energy as the West Indies team of the olden days, to unite the islands, and to regain the cricketing confidence and the will to win. The talent is here, it only needs the dedication, confidence and commitment to deliver. Everyone has their own opinion on the subject, but we are all united in hoping that we can all enjoy West Indies cricket once again. Navito (TCC)