West Indies: The Empire Strikes Back?
Ah, the Caribbean atmosphere! Music, drums, and lots of bad dancing which, because of the enthusiasm, looks great. When was the last time we saw this? Well, I'm glad to say, just about a month back.
The West Indians were looking as vicious as tigers ready to pounce on their prey. The trio of Jerome Taylor, Fidel Edwards, and Darren Powell had echoes of Courtney Walsh, Courtley Ambrose, and Malcolm Marshall, and Suleiman Benn just added a spinning effect.
West Indies have been struggling for the last 10 years or so. After the retirement of Viv Richards, Clive Lloyds, Micheal Holding, Gordon Greenidge, etc., West Indies never looked the same.
Walsh and Ambrose really did send the spirits sky high, but soon they to had to hang up their boots. The team of legends had just one legend in Brian Lara, who continued to work hard, striving in order to achieve something for his team.
Very few lent a helping hand to him. Carl Hooper was an instant phenomenon, reminding the people of how Sir Viv played, but that slowly died down. Merv Dillon and Cameron Cuffy had daunting physical features and made use of that, but only in conditions which suited them, unlike their predecessors.
After Lara's retirement, all seemed over. Who was left? West Indies were stuck in a very dark cave. But then, they saw the light in the form of Shiv Chanderpaul, and around him, light began spreading everywhere. Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, and Dwayne Bravo all stood up and prepared for the strike back.
But things didn't begin well. And nor did they improve. Players were changed every now and then, but nobody could build around what their seniors did.
West Indies' main strength was in their pace attack, and that was suddenly obsolete. No fast bowler seemed capable of even fitting in the shadows of the greats who played before.
Then came the English series of 2009.
West Indies played their three most senior fast bowlers and added a spin bowler in the mix. But the English played them with superiority and scored well above 280. But the new and improved batting lineup lived up to their shine, and outshined their counterparts.
Now it was the time for the bowlers.
To make a known long story short, they ripped the famed English lineup into pieces. Getting them all out for a paltry 50-odd runs, and England failed to score 390 in two innings of batting.
This marks a new beginning in West Indian cricket, or shall I say, a reincarnation. As I write/type, the West Indians are destroying the English once again in the third ODI in Barbados. At the time of writing, England are at 68-for-8.
There was a time when West Indies ruled everything. They tore apart each team that came in their way as if it was an insult playing against them. Teams were scared to play them and names of players gave teams the nightmares.
My question is simple. Is this just one of those bad phases England is going through?
Or has the West Indian empire struck back?
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