James Nixon | 5:50am BST 24 May 2019
One of the great cricket tragedies post-millennia has been the slow disintegration of the West Indian cricket team. Traditionalists and those who followed the great West Indian teams of the 1970s and 1980s have all watched on in disbelief as the once proud cricketing nation slumped to new lows and lost that indomitable identity that made them feared the world over.
Since the turn of the century, the West Indies haven’t made an impact at the World Cup with the Islanders failing to make it out of the group stage in 2003 and 2007. Things improved ever so slightly with quarter-final exits in 2011 and then 2015 after losing to New Zealand by 143 runs, but it probably looks slightly better on paper than it does in reality as the Windies looked limp and unconvincing.
The greatest player to represent @windiescricket at the World Cup is _________ pic.twitter.com/vw7TccjYlG
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) May 2, 2019
The 2007 group stage exit was a particular disappointment as the Windies were hosting the tournament and this was definitely seen as a time that could spark the revival of West Indian cricket. It wasn’t to be and for years the Islanders would spend time in the wilderness as their best players opted for the lucrative pull of the T20 circus instead of reporting for international duty.
It would take Jason holder’s appointment as West Indies captain for the tide to begin to turn but it has been a painstakingly slow process that mercifully for Windies fans, has now begun to pay handsome dividends. Winning the 2016 T20 World Cup final in India was a result that reminded the world that they weren’t the spent force many had them down as, but many wanted to see more, particularly in the Test arena as that would show if the discipline had truly returned to the Windies setup.
The start of 2019 would see Holder lead his side in a thrashing of England on home soil and provide the long-suffering West Indies fans with some thoroughly deserved joy. It was this Test series victory that suggests that the Windies are beginning to work as a team once more and not solely rely on a few individuals to get the job done which could well mean an improved showing at the World Cup.
Punters may raise an eyebrow or two at that, especially the ones monitoring the cricket tips from Betfair who have seen the Windies at odds of 15/1 to win the tournament, and to a certain extent, it will be an unbelievably hard job just to make the semi-finals but momentum is now on the side of the Islanders.
Sooner or later it is going to click for the Windies at the World Cup and they will blow away the opposition as they did in days gone by.
Rally hard!??#IREvWI #MenInMaroon #ItsOurGame pic.twitter.com/zukS1RfV0L
— Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) May 11, 2019
What’s more, is that they do like it when the World Cup is played in England as they have won it twice when the event is staged there. That may be a stretch this time around but they will certainly not be the whipping boys anymore and may in actual fact, do a bit of whipping themselves.
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