They hadn’t won a World Cup since 1979. Their fans had lost all their hope in the team as it got battered and bruised for years on end. They had mercurial players on and off but the consistency was missing. People and players so tired of losing constantly in cricket had started moving to much more rewarding sports like athletics and football. There were constant problems between the players and the board on matters of any kind from payments to performances. But then, the unthinkable happened.
West Indies won the World T20 World Cup to script one of the most stunning victories in cricket in years. With their energy and happiness displayed on the field with the ‘Ganganam’ style made popular by PSY and other amazing ways of celebration, West Indies showed that cricket is also a fun sport and has a heart. They showed that there is more to them than just play in World T20 leagues and smash sixes out of the park. They showed that they are united across countries to play for one nation and one goal. They showed the desire to win at any cost to bring smiles on the faces of millions across the Caribbean. And that’s what kept them ahead of the rest of the pack.
Whether it was Gayle smashing sixes with relentless ease or Narine bamboozling the batsman with his deliveries, whether it was Rampaul’s pace and bounce or Samuels audacious shots, West Indies showed they could play and succeed as a team rather than just individuals succeeding. Though they were still dependent on Gayle to a large extent, the rest of the team rallied around at many times throughout the tournament in their own small ways. And last but not the least; Sammy – A man who has got the highest share of brickbats for every defeat WI limped to, he finally delivered in the final with bat, ball and in the field. He’s gonna be a revered man in the West Indies for years to come!
33 years can be a long time. Generations appear and disappear. There are many of us who have never seen West Indies win a World Cup title. There are others who think West Indies should only play T20. And then there are those who had seen the 70s and 80s when West Indies smashed every team left, right and center.
It’s the last set of people who would have been delighted the most today. They would be feeling that finally West Indies have taken the first step to regain their lost glory in the cricketing world. Can they build on this victory? Can they succeed in the other forms of the game as well? Can they win the 50 over World Cup?
It would be really interesting to watch for the whole cricketing world in months and years to come. Cricket needs a stronger West Indies team and they have finally shown what they can do by winning the big prize!
Note: To be honest, I had already planned to write this post 2 days back because something gave me the hunch that it was going to be the Calypso Kings this time!