Saturday, February 24, 2018

Oh happy day!


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Captain Darren Sammy described it best when he said, "the Caribbean needed this". We certainly did. As the only team to represent the region as one place in international sport, the West Indies lifted the spirit of the entire region as one yesterday when they beat Sri Lanka to take the World T20 Trophy in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The victory brought an end to the eight-year trophy drought endured since the 2004 Champions Tournament when Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw put on 71 for the ninth wicket to defeat England.

It's been a long, hard and contentious road since then. But West Indians, players and fans alike, are a hardy and optimistic bunch who, in this game of glorious uncertainty, never say die.

On the field yesterday, the West Indies showed the character of our people at our best.

At 32-2 off 10 overs, it would have taken a brave soul to hope for the respectable tally of 137-6. But in October 2012, the West Indies war chest is rich in talent. Yesterday, it was the turn of the gifted Marlon Samuels to demonstrate that after the years of testing, on and off the field, he is ready to put his talent to serious work for the West Indies team and fans.

In victory, Captain Darren Sammy maintained his level-headed modesty in attributing the outcome to the team's mantra of "One Team, One People, One Goal".

For Sammy, the victory was a vindication of his tactical approach to the captaincy which has seen him work with the WICB in emphasising team discipline to a degree that critics often considered unfair and unhealthy.

Whatever our reservations about his captaincy, Captain Sammy deserves our admiration and congratulations for keeping his team united, committed and inspired enough to survive early defeat against Sri Lanka and come back to take the trophy against them. Yesterday's triumph can only have enhanced confidence in Sammy's captaincy.

Wise heads would caution against elevating yesterday's win to the level of a turnaround, but it is one of many green shoots that are beginning to peep out in West Indies cricket.

There is no doubt that we are beginning to see the outlines of a talented and steady team with names that are again becoming familiar to cricket fans.

In building on this victory, much will depend on the WICB which has come out at the wrong end of a number of legal challenges by players. Given recent changes at the top, and the team's improved performance, fans would be hoping that West Indies cricket is finally emerging from its decade of turbulence.

On a less happy note, it is regrettable that the broadcast of this historic victory was available only to cable viewers. We hope free-to-air television stations will negotiate their way back into the coverage so that a wider cross-section of our people will be there when the West Indies lifts another trophy.