What comes first to your mind whenever you hear the word West Indies?? Flamboyance. Flair. Entertainment. Never say die attitude. Right from the era of 3Ws and Sobbers to Viv Richards, Lloyd and deadly pace attack to the likes of Brian Lara, Chris Gayle and co. the Caribbean islands have given cricket some of its best moments. And what stands out among all this? The passion of their fans! Some of whom even travel to Mumbai from Trinidad to watch Gayle bat.
West Indies have always been a dominant force in cricket till 90s. The first 40-50 years of West Indies cricket has seen some of its most best moments. The two World Cup wins, the “Blackwash” of 1984, and the glorious careers Sobbers, 3Ws, Richards, Llyod and 4 deadly fast bowlers. Not to forget Wes Halls, Lance Gibbs and Ramadhin! But after Viv Richards” retirement, during Lara era the decline of West Indies cricket began slowly.
One of the reason why West Indies cricket declined in 2000s is fast bowling. The biggest strength that enabled them to dominate the world cricket had became a major area of concern. After Walsh and Ambrose, not a single West Indian bowler has made a mark barring few good performances here and there. There was plenty of talent in the tank. Drakes, Collymore, Dillion, McLean, King, Rose, Collins, Fidel Edwards! You name them! Except Fidel Edwards no one has went on to pick 150+ test.
The frequent conflicts between board and players have always let WI cricket down! Also the team never had a “Leader” in the post-Lara era. When I say “Leader” it means someone who could captain the side for at 4-5 years and revive WI cricket. And now after sacking players like Gayle, Sammy, Bravo has left the team in tatters and WI cricket has hit the rock bottom!
Sadly, the glory days seem to be just fading away! The only thing that WI can take solace from is there is still some bright prospects in domestic circuit like Alzarri Joseph, Nicolas Pooran etc. West Indies cricket anthem itself says “Pretty soon the runs are gonna flow like water, bringing so much joy to each and every son and daughter”. But Holder and Co. have miles to go before they bring back the joy to their sons and daughters!!
– by Atharva Apte