Music, dance, a carnival-like atmosphere is something every individual loves and would love to be a part of. Such an experience on a cricket field however, is something one would’ve never expected to see. But we all have been privileged enough to have all of that last Sunday when the West Indies won the WorldT20 in Sri Lanka – their first ICC tournament win since 2004! It has been an excruciatingly long wait for the Caribbean fans and the moment has finally arrived.
Every individual who follows a sport has a favourite team that he/she would back ardently, come what may. There are teams you absolutely dislike, some that you admire for the way they play the game and some teams who you dislike to such an extent that you would mind anybody but them winning. But the West Indies is perhaps the one team in the competition whose victory would be celebrated by one and all – even the Sri Lankans.
Some may question Sammy’s role as Captain and even his presence in the team as it has been a usual occurrence, but if there has been anybody who has been instrumental in this West Indian win, it had to have been Darren Sammy. Sammy has never taken his spot in the team for granted – like he has mentioned quite a few times himself. In Test cricket, his form in the past year has been doleful, but in the shorter formats, he sure has been an asset – an underrated one. In this World T20, he finished fifth best in the team with an average of 18 per innings – which is better than the likes of Pollard and Russell. With the ball, he took 4 wickets at an economy rate of 7.71.
His significance however, goes beyond bat and ball. In times of turmoil when the team had a fall out with the administration for a start, along with a series of bad results and a bunch of other glitches, he came in and sculpted the team. He infused of the core essence that held the team together and imbibed team spirit and passion that stood out. He made sure the team was proficient enough to perform together as a unit. He is no Frank Worrell, but he has managed to create enough character in his team to make them capable enough of winning a World Cup.
The West Indies were tipped off as one of the favourites to win the World T20 by experts, but T20s as a format is very unpredictable and it could have been anyone; I am glad it is them. There is something very striking about the West Indian spirit and the way they play the game; it is perhaps one quality that no other team in world cricket project. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and are extremely animated of their love and delight they derive from playing the game. Whether or not it will be the catalyst in reviving West Indian cricket is a question that will be answered over the future, but for now, the tides seem to be turning.