West Indies cricket had reached a point where they were getting more famous for on and off-field capitulation rather than the glorious period they enjoyed from the 1970s to the mid-1990s in Test cricket. That dominance entailed not losing a Test series for 15 years.
A tour of West Indies would be dreaded by the best of their opponents, who didn’t fancy facing four genuine quick bowlers coming at them all day. In recent years, tours there were relished. However, their five-wicket victory over England in the third Test at Barbados on Sunday not only denied the old enemy a series win, but it also provided a ray of hope for their revival.
Not often is West Indies the flavour of the day, but after that Barbados win, it was. It seems everyone’s delighted when Brazil’s answer to cricket wins.
A less determined side would have succumbed to the England attack of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali, the off-spinner who troubled India last summer in England.
Considering the West Indies managed only 189 in the first innings, a 192-run target was never going to be a stroll. No praise can be high for one-drop Darren Bravo (82) and No 6 batsman Jermaine Blackwood, who stayed not out on 47.
It was a wonderful achievement for Denesh Ramdin’s men, considering some of their high-profile players like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo and Sunil Narine are associated with the Indian Premier League.
The Barbados win must be allowed to be a game-changer, an occasion where the players realise that they hold the reins to a new era. That does not mean the administration can continue to ignore the fact that there has to a certain give and take while solving player-related disputes. If new coach Phil Simmons, chief selector Clive Lloyd, and the selectors work towards getting a happy bunch of players on the park, West Indies cricket will get stronger. An all-out effort by the players won’t guarantee victories, because there will be strong opposition to contend with. But the pride factor that was missing all these years will be set right. Or is that fixed already with the recent win?