Victory of Windies!!
Few days ago West Indies team have beaten the hosts Sri Lanka to win the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup. I just tried to understand the various aspects of Windies cricket to reach this place.
The regal look of Clive Llyod has vanished, so does the marauding spirit of King Richards. Shamefully enough, Lara is labelled as the last king of Caribbean which sums up that the assembly line of great cricketers have come to an abrupt end. There is no X factor in the bowling, no more lethal pace, nor the breath taking swing. No more Michael Holding, no more Andy Roberts. Sunil Naraine might be a dangerous bowler to England or SA who are perennially weak against spin but against Sri Lanka on their home turf, he is also just another bowler who could be effective on his day, NOT everyday.
Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge and Brian Lara Et al are gone and over. The present top order consists of a tyro and the other two are more in news for non-cricketing reasons. In the last one year, the so called talisman had spent more time in the viewers gallery than in the dressing room, the other one is just back from a potential career threatening ban and everybody knows the confidence after a comeback would be low. God knows how he managed to belt five sixes of the so called best T20 bowler. The only glimmer of hope is Kieron Pollard; he is young, energetic and can effortlessly clear any boundary on this planet. The remaining are just decent players. However, at the need of the hour there was definitely someone who rose to the occasion. The way Gayle approached the semi final indicated that he is a man of responsibility and also, the team is one unit.
Non Playing Captain
Darren Sammy is more seen in news conferences than in the playing field. He bats very much down the order and bowls as a third change. He neither has an imposing personality nor game changing cricketing skills. This man has got Samuel Badree into the team who last played an international match few years ago only to take the wickets of David Warner and Shane Watson. Thats some shrewd captaincy. Of course any captain is as good/bad as a team but given the tag of "non playing captain" on Sammy, its a real achievement.
Barring the Pakistani fans, I dont think the fans of any other country went through as much turmoil as Windies supporters. Once rulers of the cricketing field, they are ridiculed as a lost force. In the last decade, starting from Australia to India, almost all the major test playing nations bettered their records in the Caribbean soil. For the land of Sobers and Richards, there is no bigger shame. But there was never any attacks on the houses of the cricketers. The fans kept supporting the team but never took on to streets to protest the defeats and more importantly neither assaulted the cricketers nor committed suicides. They just took the game as a game nothing more than that.
I am following cricket for almost two decades now and I have never seen Windies players sledging some one or a Windies captain taking a psychological war with the opponents. They just play "their" game, never mind the defeats but the Caribbean way is to just "play". Thats the reason they are loved so much by people of all countries. They are definitely a very great ambassadors of their countries. Once the glory of Windies came down the Aussies under Steve Waugh became a reckoning force on the turf but they were never liked or respected. Because they made sledging and mental wars a part and parcel of the game. Characterless brutes like Shane Warne became icons. Cheaters like Michael Clarke are promoted as captains.
I am really glad to see Windies won a major ICC tournament and wish them all success.