West Indies and cricket – a connection so deep that it borders on the spiritual. The West Indies were the fourth nation to be given test status in 1928. Cricket in the West Indies really started taking off after the Second World War with their first away victory against England being a 3-1 win in the 1950 tour. The West Indies continued to have only sporadic successes as long as they were a white-dominated team. But all this changed in the 1960s once the team became a black dominated team when they started to become the force that would rule the world of cricket for nearly three decades. Cricket may have been invented and propagated by the English but it was propelled to another level by the power and beauty of the West Indies brand of cricket.
The West Indies teams of the 60s, 70s and 80s reads like a list of giants of the game. Boasting of stalwarts like Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Garfield Sobers, Lance Gibbs, to Brian Lara through Sir Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Rohan Kanhai, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshal, Courtney Walsh and many, many more, the West Indies teams of the 1960s, 1970s and 80s were a force unlike anything ever seen before in the sport of cricket. They not only dominated, but decimated their opponents, whichever team it may have been, both home and away. Teams visited the West Indies with trepidation and welcomed them with fear. Their only objective while playing against them was to not get humiliated.
The present team may not have quite touched the same dizzying levels as those in the past but then no other team in the world has been able to reach those heights, so that’s not an issue really. But they have had their share of successes – they have been T20 World Cup winners twice and Champions Trophy winners. This success in the shorter format of the game plus the fact that a lot of the West Indian superstars like Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo play in T20 leagues across the world has helped to given a fresh impetus to the game in the Caribbean. And the West Indies team has now started a fresh push to regain its former glory with the visiting England cricket team being the latest challenge.
The series promises to be a fascinating duel between a young and hungry West Indies team and an England team that has recently emerged victorious at home against the world’s no 1 cricket team. This is the big ticket cricket series in the world right now and Zoonga is the only place for the tickets to all the action on the pitch.
A series not to be missed. Will the West Indies rise up to the challenge and defeat England? The signs are promising. Reserve your spot to watch, from the ringside, the revival of one of cricket’s true powers!