Party over, reality dawns! West Indies rue another missed opportunity

24 June,2024 09:38 PM IST |  Gros Islet (Saint Lucia)  |  mid-day online correspondent

Across the six World Cup venues, the buzz around the tournament was palpable but the loss on Sunday night has sent the happy-go-lucky fans into their shell

West Indies` captain Rovman Powell walks back after getting caught out (Pic: AFP)

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It was a depressing Monday morning in the Caribbean after the West Indies crashed out of the T20 World Cup 2024 it was hosting after a 14-year gap.

A collective dream of millions in the region came crashing after Marco Jansen deposited a full ball from Obed McCoy for a six down the ground to seal a nervy win for South Africa over the tournament co-hosts.

It is difficult to match the frenzied fan following that cricket enjoys in India but if there is any region that comes close to the Asian country, it is the Caribbean.

Across the six World Cup venues, the buzz around the tournament was palpable but the loss on Sunday night has sent the happy-go-lucky fans into their shell.

"It is depressing but the West Indies had it coming. They were poor in all departments last night," said Papios, a police officer who was guarding an almost empty Darren Sammy Stadium ahead of the India-Australia game here.

The stage was set for the West Indies to win a record third T20 World Cup 2024 and part of the narrative was local hero Darren Sammy, who gained stardom following the two titles he won as captain, and this time the whole region was banking on him to repeat the feat as the head coach of the side.

Following the heart-breaking loss in Antigua, the sentiment towards him has certainly changed.

"It is time we sack him. He is not good for the team and does politics. Poor selection cost the team," said a member of the ground staff here.

The game's passionate follower in Barbados, Kevin Brathwaite, also has a pessimistic view about the future of the sport in the region.

"I don't support the West Indies team. I am supporting England in this tournament. There is too much regional politics in the game here. So there is no reason to support them. I would want to see West Indies bring back the glory days in Test cricket but with the way things are going, it is not happening in the foreseeable future. Everyone wants to play in the IPL but not Test cricket," said Brathwaite.

Also Read: Sri Lanka sports minister denies night club visit caused team's T20 WC exit

Despite the outcome on Sunday night, the health of the shortest format is unlikely to be impacted. It is the other two formats where the West Indies are lagging behind. Each team plays only five first-class games per season in the Caribbean.

"Test cricket is dying and it not surprising. We have the shortest first-class season. We are way behind in ODIs too (West Indies could not qualify for ODI World Cup 2023).

"Unfortunately, the World Cup result last night won't impact the T20 format. That is where the money is.

"In this World Cup, they had issues with their batting and bowling all through and may have experimented with their selection at least against smaller teams like Uganda," said 85-year-old Saint Lucia-based commentator Joseph Perreira, who has covered seven World Cups including the first three one in 1975, 1979 and 1983.

Had the West Indies gone all the way, the party in the Caribbean would have gone on for months but now it will have to wait.

(With agency inputs)

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