Fall of the Windies Giants: New Era of Cricket
Majority of the cricket fans would say that West Indies was the strongest and the toughest team during the 70s and 80s era. Batters like Vivian Richards and Clive Lloyd were so destructive that even the best bowlers in the world would fear in front of them. Moreover, the bowlers were even more deadly in that classic side. The combination of Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, and Andy Roberts was capable of instilling fear in the mind of any batsman in the world.
There have been several occasions where the Windies bowlers have injured their opponents which was another reason for their dominance during that era. Extremely tall bowlers with over six feet of height bowling a bouncer was a normal thing in those times.
Now with years passing by, scenarios have taken a U-turn and the Caribbean team is even struggling to survive in international cricket. A recent example of their downfall is their failure in the Cricket World Cup Qualifiers 2023 where they got eliminated while playing against lesser-known teams in international cricket.
It is understood that the team was playing without their prominent stars such as Andre Russell and Sunil Narine to name a few but still they have got some big names in the squad including Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Shai Hope, and Jason Holder. They have played ample international cricket that this tournament could have gone in their favor easily, however, lack of collective effort was the major reason behind their loss.
The well-known West Indies side lost their matches to the teams like Scotland and Netherlands which was quite shocking for the cricketing fraternity. The bowlers they have right now are not even half of what they used to be during the 80s era.
Three consecutive finals, two trophies, and one legend
It was the first edition of the World Cup and the world had already seen what a team like West Indies could do in the tournament. Clive Lloyd & Co. had won all their group matches with ease before knocking out New Zealand in the semi-final of the tournament.
The final was against Australia and the Caribbean side hammered 291 runs in their complete quota of 60 overs. Skipper Lloyd played a match-winning knock of 102 runs as they went on to beat Australia by 17 runs to win the inaugural World Cup. It was probably the first and the last time that a team had won the World Cup with so much ease.
With the kind of performance they showed in the first edition, West Indies were clear favourites to lift the title for the second time and they did that in style. Lloyd’s men won their group matches against India and New Zealand before making their way to the knockouts where they defeated Pakistan with ease.
This time the final was against the hosts England and this time their champion player Vivian Richards scored a century and helped his side defeat England by 92 runs. This was yet another one-sided World Cup win for the Windies.
The 1983 World Cup started off on a sour note for the Carribean side as the first day of their first fixture didn’t bring a result due to incessant rain and the reserve day brought hope for a full quota of points for Lloyd’s men but the Indian cricket team had other ideas as Kapil Dev’s men dismissed the Windies batters with ease to defend their total of 262 runs.
The 1983 World Cup is one of the finest memories for Indian fans as the team won the World Cup after being one of the underdogs in the tournament. The team led by Kapil Dev played bold cricket and created history at Lord’s.
From there, the Windies didn’t look back as they romped past Australia (twice), Zimbabwe (twice), and even defeated India at the Oval in the reverse fixture. In the semi-final, they overcame the Pakistan challenge with ease to set up a third meeting against India in the highly remembered tournament.
In the final, the quartet of Garner, Holding, Marshall, and Roberts was well supported by Gomes as they dismissed India for a meagre total of 183 runs but the Southeast Asian nation came up trumps in the end as they dismissed the Caribbean side for a total of 140 runs courtesy of three wickets apiece from all-rounders Mohinder Amarnath and Madan Lal.
Even after losing the final of the World Cup this time, Windies were stupendous throughout and looked in top form but were undone by the unpredictability and sheer determination of the Indian side. Reaching the final of the ODI World Cup for the third time in a row was a scintillating effort from the side that will remain in the history of cricket books.
Current Scenario and the CWC Qualifiers 2023
After the initial success and fear factor tapered out due to the introduction of better safety equipment, West Indies was never able to reach the final of the mega-event in nine different editions of the tournament.
Though West Indies produced some of the finest players after that including Brian Lara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, and Chris Gayle but none of them couldn’t help their side win an ODI World Cup. The lack of quality bowlers is one of the reasons for their downfall and to date, they haven’t found bowlers of the quality matching the likes of Garner and Holding.
Shai Hope’s side started the ongoing World Cup qualifiers well with two consecutive wins against USA and Nepal but wheels soon came off as the match against the Netherlands went down to the Super Over despite Windies putting up a total of 374 runs after batting first.
Jason Holder gave away 30 runs in the Super Over and his side could never recover from that as they went on to lose to Zimbabwe and Scotland in consecutive matches effectively knocking them out from the reckoning for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup to be held in India.
A team that has won two T20I World Cups in the last 11 years wasn’t expected to reach the nadir of the ODI World Cup Qualifiers but the West Indies Cricket Board needs to sort out their mess and involve match-winners like Sunil Narine and Andre Russell in the team whilst they are at their peak.