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Article - West Indies cricket

West Indian cricket - a glorious past, an uncertain future

            Many of the leading cricket nations will want to be World Champions this year; there is however probably only one nation that will feel it has become a necessity for them to win the 2015 World Cup. After an acrimonious pay dispute between the cricketers and administrators, the West Indies players abandoned their autumn tour of India. Officials are threatening to sue for the substantial losses incurred and stating that the future planned Indian tours to the Caribbean may not go ahead. As the lucrative Indian tours of the islands are where the cash-strapped WICB generates most of its revenues, such an action could have a catastrophic effect on the sport's development.

            It is doubtful that West Indian cricket has ever been at a worse ebb - poorly administered and funded, international results have declined and supporters are disillusioned. Many of these fans can recall the West Indies in their glorious heyday.  A magnificent quartet of fast bowlers (Holding, Garner, Roberts, Croft and then Marshall) were backed up by dashing stroke-makers such as Richards, Lloyd and Greenidge to form a powerful invincible team.

            In 1975 a Clive Lloyd century and sharp fielding from Viv Richards in running out three Australian batsmen ensured that the name of West Indies would be the first to be inscribed upon a World Cup. Four years later, calypsos were composed in honour of Viv Richards who bludgeoned the England attack around Lords to retain the trophy. During the 1990s the West Indies relied on the brilliant batting of Brian Lara and the unrelenting accuracy of quickie Curtly Ambrose.

            Sadly, the current players are unlikely to gain legendary status. There is currently no batsman in the top thirty ranking for ODI performances - the highest is Darren Bravo at number 38.  However he has only made two centuries, and all-rounder brother Dwayne (number 63) is not selected. Veteran Chris Gayle (54) is always dangerous with the bat having scored an incredible 21 quick-fire tons but at 35 years old will not be around for much longer. Fast bowler Kemar Roach (18) is a genuine match-winner, and off-spinner Sunil Narine (2) is capable of picking up wickets cheaply. Can West Indies claim the World Cup for a third time? On their day they are irresistible but need to add consistency. Sadly for the health of West Indian cricket, individual brilliance is unlikely to be enough.

 

Brian Salmon

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