Waiting for Caribbean sunrise

Cricket World T20

Waiting for Caribbean sunrise

As strong contenders West Indies begin their defence of World T20 title in Bangladesh, it is hard not to reflect on their triumph in Sri Lanka where they had dashed home hopes in a low-scoring thriller.

The second favourites of every non-West Indies’ cricket fan, the Darren Sammy-led side’s victory had raised hopes of a revival of the game in the islands of the Caribbean but there hasn’t been any perceptible change in their cricketing fortunes.

The West Indian cricket (in Tests and ODIs) has been in the ICU for well over a decade now and to expect a miracle in a period of one and half years is asking for the moon. What is, however, disheartening is the fact that there has not been even signs of improvement.

Since their victory in October 2012 in Colombo, West Indies have played nine Tests losing four and winning as many while drawing the other one. The successes in four Tests though have come against minnows Zimbabwe and Bangladesh while they failed miserably against India and New Zealand. The 2-0 loss to India during the Sachin Tendulkar farewell series in Kolkata and Mumbai wasn’t entirely unexpected but the manner of defeats left a lot to be desired, losing both the Tests inside three days.

They neither had the requisite technique nor the temperament needed to last the rigours of a five-day encounter. The humiliating losses prompted their former captain Clive Lloyd to even remark that the West Indies’ players looked too drunk on an overdose of T20.

Though marginally better, their performances in one-dayers during the same period once again reaffirmed their inadequacies in the longer version. In the seven bilateral series, West Indies managed wins only against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe while they were humbled by Australia, Pakistan, India and England. They did succeed in levelling the five-match series against New Zealand (2-2) though.

On the other hand, their comfort level in T20s was all too apparent in their wins against Australia (1-0) and England (2-1) besides Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

The crowd attendance during the recent three-match T20 series against England in Barbados was compelling. All three matches saw crowds thronging the stadium in large numbers, making each game a great spectacle. That the home side won the series made each of their trips worth the time and money.

The World T20 triumph was necessary to reignite the passion for the game in the West Indies but sadly it has managed spawn only more followers of the shortest format. The West Indies, even during their hey days, have been known for their flair and the T20 format allows them to be just themselves.

That’s why increasingly we see more Dwayne Bravos than Darren Bravos and more of Chris Gayle than Shivnarine Chenderpaul. Their 2004 Champions Trophy triumph in England, much against the popular belief, had failed to reinstate cricket’s primacy in the West Indies and sadly so has the World T20 victory in Sri Lanka.

No one will grudge another Gangnam celebration in Bangladesh on the night of April 6 but the hopes of a Caribbean resurgence will be tempered for sure. 

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