Andy Roberts, the great Antiguan fast bowler of the 1970s and 1980s refuses to be intoxicated by West Indies’ World Twenty20 triumph.
There was not a trace of cheer in Roberts’ voice when MiD DAY called him in Antigua in the wee hours of this morning (afternoon for him). He had not even watched the second part of the final against Sri Lanka; only a bit of the West Indies batting.
“It is a good win. The year 2004 was the last time we won anything major (Champions Trophy in England) so it is nice,” said Roberts before he quickly added: “A lot of people are excited that finally we won something, but I don’t think too many people are optimistic about whether this team can transfer their 20-20 form to other forms of cricket. Twenty20 cricket is all about teams playing the best on that day or that session because you do not have time to recuperate in 20-20 games since it is so fast.”
Roberts was an integral part of Clive Lloyd’s 1975 and 1979 World Cup-winning outfits.
Roberts’ view on Gayle in a television interview last year is important while he spoke about the ‘on the day’ factor. He said then: “Chris Gayle is a day-to-day player. On his day, he will destroy any attack in the world. But that is, on his day. And those days don’t come often enough.”
On Sunday night, Gayle could manage only three runs off 16 balls and was trapped leg before wicket by Ajantha Mendis.
Roberts stressed the World T20 win must translate into overall consistency in other forms of the game and those who believe that this could usher in a new era of West Indies cricket must also understand how uphill it will be. “It is going to be a huge ask to herald in a new era. I am not so optimistic because I don’t think we have the depth in our cricket. It is very important to have the depth.
“I don’t view winning one tournament as success. We have to be consistent over a period of time. One, two, three, four, five good series means you are consistently playing well. You may not win, but what matters is you are consistently playing well and that is what I need to see,” said Roberts (61), who claimed 202 wickets in 47 Tests.
He stressed the need for the West Indies players to work harder on their game after the T20 triumph: “That’s what West Indies cricket needs – the encouragement to work harder. Not just because we won a T20 title though, but we need to encourage younger people to start taking interest in their cricket once more.
Roberts ended the conversation with a reminder: “World cricket is at its strongest when West Indies is playing well.”