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Hope Windies can be that force again!

Updated on: 28 July,2022 08:26 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Clayton Murzello |

Like in Test cricket, the West Indies’ ODI stocks have fallen. The overall number of defeats is catching up with the win tally and that’s not a good sign

Hope Windies can be that force again!

West Indies captain Shai Hope poses with his 100th ODI jersey during the second game against India at the Queens Park Oval, Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday. Pic/AFP

Clayton MurzelloWhen West Indies ended up on the losing side in the second one-day international against India on Sunday, they had lost their eighth ODI on the bounce. And even if you wake up today to the news of them winning Game 3 after two well-contested games, the fact stays that they have lost yet another series against a major cricket-playing nation.

After beating the Sri Lankans 3-0 at home in March 2021, they lost to Australia, Ireland, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The only victorious series after that win was against The Netherlands this May and hence it’s no surprise to see West Indies ranked ninth on the ODI charts.

Before Wednesday’s encounter against India, West Indies competed in 849 ODIs, out of which they have won 409 and lost 400. Ten games were tied while 30 ended in no results. The number of lost games is soon catching up with the win tally and when that happens, it will be a sad day. Sad because the West Indies boasted of some great one-day sides, teams that rarely lost a game in the 1970s and the first part of the 1980s. Indeed, they were true masters of the one-day game and that is manifest in their triumphs in the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979. It must be stated that this was achieved without losing a game and in 1979, they conquered opponent after opponent with the same playing XI.

West Indian dominance came to the fore in the two seasons of Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket (WSC) as well. Ian Chappell, Australia’s WSC captain, provided more than just an indication of how formidable the West Indies were in an interview to Harsha Bhogle in the build-up to the 1996 World Cup. “We seemed to be playing each other every day in World Series Cricket. And there were times when I didn’t think we could beat them in one-day cricket. Whatever target you set them, they would get it. They were very, very tough to beat. I always fancied our chances of beating them in a ‘Test’ match, but in the one-day game, there was a period where I thought they were unbeatable,” reckoned Chappell.

The strong West Indian force was also there for all to see when fast bowling tailender batsman Wayne Daniel clubbed Mick Malone for a six to win a one-dayer in the WSC era. A few years later, Greg Chappell remembered that and didn’t want to experience it again, so he ordered brother Trevor to bowl underarm to deny New Zealand a tied result at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on February 1, 1981.

India too have been at the receiving end of West Indies’ brilliance in limited overs cricket, Kapil Dev & Co’s 1983 World Cup win which constituted two wins (Manchester and Lord’s) over the then reigning champions not withstanding. After their Cup glory, India couldn’t get the better of the West Indies for nine matches in a row (October 13, 1983 to December 23, 1987). The only game India won in the 1987-88 seven-match series was at Kolkata, where the visitors failed to get near the 223-run target in a 45 overs-a-side game. The above mentioned series came in between two whitewashes – 5-0 in India in 1983-84 and 5-0 in the Caribbean in 1988-89.

The annual triangular series in Australia was a thriving ground for the West Indies in one-day cricket. It was almost a given as to who would earn the silverware. Lloyd’s teams clinched these honours on each visit in 1979-80, 1981-82, 1983-84 and 1984-85. Viv Richards’s side couldn’t make the fiinal of the 1987-88 Perth Challenge final where Mike Gatting’s England beat Imran Khan’s Pakistan, but regained one-day glory when they won the 1988-89 triangular with Lloyd as manager.

Pakistan were the side which denied the West Indies a chance to have a crack at the 1985 World Championship of Cricket trophy by beating them in the semi-finals. Pakistan were not a team any side could take lightly and enjoy success over them often. Remember, they came very close to beating West Indies in the Edgbaston game of the 1975 World Cup where Deryck Murray and Andy Roberts put in 64 runs for the 10th wicket to see their side home. Yet, in their first 10 years of ODI rivalry (1975 to 1985) comprising 24 games, Pakistan could win only five.

Probably, the beginning of the end in Caribbean dominance of ODI cricket coincided with the exit of Richards.

His successor Richie Richardson, albeit leading the team to the 1992-93 triangular triumph Down Under, was captain in the 1991-92 edition of the event, the World Cup in the same season and the 1996 World Cup, where West Indies lost to Kenya.

Having said all this, the current West Indies ODI team have the makings of a good ODI side. They’ve got some new faces and that’s always a positive in a period of transition. But mention the word transition to veteran Caribbean commentator Reds Perreira and he’ll say, “We’ve been in a transition stage for quite a while now.” He reckoned the side badly missed Jason Holder, who was down with COVID-19. But where there’s good attitude, there is hope and it is likely that the West Indians won’t lose as often as they have in the recent past. One bloke—Shai Hope—represents the West Indies and hope.

mid-day’s group sports editor Clayton Murzello is a purist with an open stance.
He tweets @ClaytonMurzello. Send your feedback to
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.

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