Cricket lovers the world over never tire from bemoaning the drop in standards of West Indies cricket. And who can blame them, because they seemed to have a factory of quality players who entertained each time they strode on to the turf.
The form that they have displayed in the World T20 tournament at Bangladesh has provided more hope for redemption.
From pure entertainers in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, the West Indians came to be known for sheer invincibility. No better example illustrates this than West Indies’ unbeaten run Test cricket from 1980 to 1995.
However, West Indies’ dominance didn’t last forever. The cracks began to show first in one-day cricket and there was a stage when things just couldn’t get worse.
Yesterday, the West Indies played their second World T20 semi-final in two years and that should provide some joy to their fans, even though they did not reach the final.
Darren Sammy’s men appear a happy bunch and though they have a great T20 player in their ranks in the form of Chris Gayle, the others have managed to find themselves in the spotlight. This can only be a good sign.
The captain is a live wire and always seems to have a trick up his sleeve to make something happen.
Curtly Ambrose, the erstwhile great fast bowler was at his practical best when he said recently that the West Indies will not produce the quality of old, but they still can be the No 1 team in the world.
Cynicism surrounding T20 cricket notwithstanding, if the shortest form of the game is helping West Indies to get back their cricketing credibility, so be it.
We must rejoice in that. For, only few teams in the history of the game have played with so much flair.
‘Cricket, lovely cricket,’ in the words of Lord Beginner in his Victory Test match calypso is what we want more of from the West Indies.
And yes, they shouldn't forget what Clive Lloyd reminded Sammy in an email message in 2012 during their successful World T20 campaign in Sri Lanka: “Success comes before work only in the dictionary.”
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