The once mighty West Indies were the winners of the inaugural World Cup in 1975 and then repeated the feat in 1979. The men from the Caribbean lost the final to winners India, well led by Kapil Dev in 1983. Unfortunately that was the last time the West Indians reached a World Cup final in the 50 over version. Over the last few years, cricket in the Caribbean has been on a steady decline and the West Indian fans that once filled the stands across these great islands were simply fed-up of the losing streak series after series on most occasions.
However, earlier this year, England’s recent tour to the Caribbean specified an inspiring change in fortune. After regaining the Wisden trophy in the victorious 2-1 Test series win and a commendable 2-2 draw in the ODI series, the respect was regained by the Caribbean public and the World. Here in the Caribbean, maxi-taxi drivers are swift to condemn the West Indies on-field performances but in the blink of an eye, they are fast to praise. The towering captain Jason Holder is a world-class all-rounder, Andre Russell back in the set-up inflicts fear into the opposition, Shai Hope excites with his glorious cover drives and the “Universe Boss” Chris Gayle, well, his record speaks for itself.
What a send-off it would be for Chris Gayle if West Indies somehow manage to reach the last four and by some miracle from the Almighty, win the World Cup.
Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer are mighty hitters of a cricket ball, as they are coming off good form from the recently concluded IPL in India. In terms of the bowling, Shannon Gabriel with his pace can send hearts racing, Kemar Roach with his accuracy and swing can keep the opposing batsmen in check and the sensational pace of Oshane Thomas and the clever left-arm swing and pace from Sheldon Cottrell can have the batters jumping in their crease. It is unfortunate however that young fast bowler Alzarri Joseph is injured out of the World Cup, as he would’ve added that extra fire power to this bowling line-up.
With the biggest tournament in Cricket………the World Cup which is being played for the fifth time in England, the West Indies need to step up and show the World what they are capable of. What a send-off it would be for Chris Gayle if West Indies somehow manage to reach the last four and by some miracle from the Almighty, win the World Cup. This is the perfect time to execute the plan and they must show that they can go beyond their potential. They have proven it in World T20 cups in 2012 and 2016. Albeit it was in the shortest version of the game but they certainly can do it once they play good consistent cricket. That word “consistency” however is the key if they want to progress into the top four though. It all boils down to leadership from the skipper Jason Holder, dynamic hitting from the batsmen and early strikes from the fast bowlers.
In recent times, the pitches in England have shown to be batting paradises and very little or nothing at all for the bowlers. Brilliant fielding is mandatory if West Indies are to be beat the best sides such as England, India, New Zealand and co. Catches also win matches and the likes of Russell and Cottrell are naturally gifted athletes hailing from Jamaica. The batting will revolve around Chris Gayle and he has a reliable opening partner in Evin Lewis. Once these two build a foundation, West Indies middle order can continue the momentum. With a team full of natural talent and explosive batting, all eyes will be on these Calypso Cricketers to produce something special. Let the games begin!