Caribbean Cricket: Who stole a West Indies’ champion-producing public line?

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Not prolonged ago, a West Indies had an public line that constructed a BMWs and Rolls Royces of cricket. It was frequency startling afterwards that a West Indies dominated universe cricket for a unequivocally prolonged time in a final century. When it wasn’t during a top, it was always melancholy to dissapoint a applecart of stronger teams like Australia and England.

For a people of a Caribbeans, cricket was a mission. It was a competition by that they could demonstrate themselves and maybe infer that they were equal, if not superior, to a ‘other’ people of a world. It was a amicable goal rather than a secular one. The cricket partner and witness were also emotionally concerned in this mission. Wasn’t it a author from a Islands, CLR, James who wrote, “What does he know of cricket who usually cricket knows?”

The Caribbean Islands had such a resources of talent that they had to dais some glorious players; players who were good adequate to be in a initial elevens of many other Test personification nations. Someone afterwards came along and stole a public line itself.

Gallery of greats. Illustration © Austin CoutinhoGallery of greats. Illustration © Austin Coutinho

Gallery of greats. Illustration © Austin Coutinho

That public line had constructed legends like Headley, Constantine, a 3 Ws — Walcott, Weekes and Worrell — Kanhai, Sobers, Hall, Gibbs, Lloyd, Roberts, Holding, Garner, Richards, Greenidge, Marshall, Walsh, Ambrose, Chanderpaul, Lara and many others who wore a West Indies colours with a lot of pride. These Hall of Famers would travel into any dream group of their times.

In a backdrop of such a legacy, and with it a earthy and psychological attributes compulsory for excelling in a diversion like cricket, it is startling that a once universe champions are now grieving among a also-rans of Test cricket.

One of a reasons, as forked out by some good thinkers of a game, for a public line to go blank is that a goal has been completed; finished and dusted! That achieved, perhaps, there is no longer that romantic for a place in a sun.

The aspiration to infer that they are a best that no longer motivates youngsters has led to cricket supporters feeling a same way. Lack of universe category talent and good performances, save for a white-ball feat now and again, has taken a once romantic witness too divided from game.


Youngsters from a Caribbean Islands describe simply to a flamboyance and a fun inlet of white-ball cricket. Test cricket is a opposite turn diversion altogether, literally. It calls for patience, technical skills and a tough mindset. It’s a opposite public line that produces players for a 50-over or T20 versions of a game. But then, a futsal universe championship isn’t as good as a FIFA World Cup, is it?

Who hijacked a public line? One of a suspects is a flourishing recognition of basketball and soccer in a Caribbean Islands. Exposure to NBA and EPL on radio has taught youngsters to adore these sparkling games rather than rubbish their time subsidy a garland of losers. Recently, in a TV interview, Michael Holding pronounced that a cricketing talent in a Islands is shallow. Selectors don’t have many to select from and a reason is a flourishing recognition of basketball and soccer.

Another reason teenagers have stopped trooping to a cricket nets is that there are frequency any heroes in a benefaction squad. Youngsters, in this day and age, don’t caring many for history. They might know a Lara or a Chanderpaul. But they won’t take a difficulty to know what a Worrell or a Sobers achieved, unless somebody creates it value their while to know.

The second think is a West Indies Cricket Board. The West Indies isn’t one republic yet a sporting connection of opposite entities, including Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Windward Islands and Trinidad Tobago. This arrangement worked good compartment a time a people of a Caribbean Islands were out to infer their supremacy in universe cricket. Once that was achieved, a differences started surfacing. The Board became complacent, behaved like a autocrat and kept a mythological players during an arm’s distance.

There are no systems in place and no backup skeleton for reconstruction of a diversion during a first-class level. The Board is heedful of a legends and has indicted them of operative with an distant motive.

The Caribbean flamboyance and unusual talent indispensable to be melded into teamwork for a West Indies’ goal to be successful. Great leaders like Worrell, followed by Sobers and Kanhai, done them into a good fighting unit. Lloyd, helped by some of a world’s best talent of a time, done them universe champions. Viv Richards, with his charisma, was means to keep a players together for some time yet afterwards a debase set in. A graphic miss of good leaders in a final integrate of decades, therefore, has harm West Indies cricket badly.

Pundits in a West Indies, and outward it, have forked a finger during a poor pitches being meted out for first-class and Test matches. The Caribbean Islands that prided themselves on carrying a many fearsome battery of discerning bowlers ever, now furnish middle pacers. Except for a Gibbs or a Ramadhin, they frequency had any good spinners. What’s more, a new turn bowlers who are picked for Tests play a limiting line and length. The glow and a danger are no longer there.

For many, many years, roughly each County in England had a cricketer from a West Indies branch out for them as professionals. The time spent there, from Apr to September, personification underneath opposite conditions and a in a opposite enlightenment altogether, sensory their edges and done them improved players.

Long ago, Vivian Richards had packaged his bags to pierce over to New York and pursue a career in electrical engineering. A call adult from Somerset altered his life and gave a cricketing universe an well-developed talent.

For a average, easygoing cricketer from a Caribbeans, there is a lot of income accessible in T20 Leagues all over a world. The niggardly opinion has taken over and nobody unequivocally bothers about how a ‘confederation’ of a West Indies performs in Tests. Remember, a goal of ‘superiority’ joined them, not patriotism!

Telling Tales

The people of a Caribbean Islands need a new goal and new heroes. The Board, if during all and a mythological cricketers of yore have to put their heads together and find a will and a proclivity for a discerning comeback.

As many as a West Indies needs cricket, a universe of cricket needs a talent and a impression of a Caribbean Islands. It is time, therefore, for a people of a West Indies and from a other cricket-playing nations to introspect.

Story-telling plays an critical partial in gripping a bequest alive. This has been proven time and again, not usually by Cricket Australia yet by some of a turn teams in America too. And what improved stories could one tell than a exploits of a Sobers or a Viv Richards or any of mythological their discerning bowlers?

Gary Sobers, on a wrong side of thirty then, had crushed a young, tear-away discerning bowler named Dennis Lillee to all tools of a belligerent to measure a shining 254. The arise was a 3rd Test of a World XI contra Australia array Down Under in 1971-2. Lillee, after being subjected to some brief things himself, had warned a legend, churned with some expletives, that he would have to face chin-music when he came in to bat. And Sobers had replied, “I’ll demeanour brazen to it!”

Then there is this story about another legend. England’s fastest bowler during that time, Greg Thomas was bowling to him in a County compare and kick him, initial ball. “Hey!” pronounced Thomas. “It’s red and round, and weighs 5 ounces.” The batsman, chomping on his gum, looked divided and didn’t reply. The subsequent turn was hoisted out of a belligerent and into a stream tighten by. “Greg,” Viv Richards drawled, walking towards a bowler. “You know what it looks like? Go fetch it, maan!”

Richards’ boyhood idols were Sidney Poitier, Muhammad Ali, Don Bradman, Gary Sobers and a 3 Ws — Weekes, Walcott and Worrell.

It’s certain going to be a tough task, anticipating that public line and putting it behind in place. For a consequence of cricket, though, one hopes that a people of a Caribbean Islands will take some tough decisions!

Austin Coutinho is a former discerning bowler incited coach. He is also a caricaturist and has authored several books including The Games, Goal, The Devil’s Pack, besides essay for several newspapers and websites.