Ah, Cricket lovely cricket. West Indies are embroiled in a three Test series against a strong South African side at present and nothing so far suggests they’re about to upset the form book. Time was, and it’s not that long ago, when a home Caribbean Test series was really something to relish, a time for rejoicing with a battery of truly great players on view, the stands packed to overflowing and rocking to the sweet sounds of pan, soca and conch as the Windies coasted to yet another resounding victory.
No more though, O dear, whatever happened to those halcyon days of yore. It’s a long story, and too complicated to relate here, but suffice it to say the men in maroon have been in apparently terminal decline now for well over a decade now. Just when it seems things cannot get any worse.... they do. This just concluded opening Test in Port of Spain was actually switched from Kingston after the social unrest there, a reminder, if any were needed, that matters beyond the boundary are no bed of roses either.
Before this last game, West Indies had won and lost 152 matches in their history so defeat by 163 runs means their win-loss ratio dips below 1 for the first time since 1976. It’s a measure certainly of how far they’ve sunk and, with cricket still seen as the region’s main unifying force, the lack of success is felt far and wide. The greatest of games is still a passion, nay a religion among the older brethren around the islands, and the pain runs deep. This latest reverse comes hard on a 5-0 whitewash in the preceding one day internationals where tiny Dominica at least enhanced its growing reputation on the world stage by successfully hosting its first ever back to back internationals in the recently constructed stadium in Roseau.
There were decent turn-outs too, and Dominica’s profile was raised further when their 26 year old offspinner Shane Shillingford made his Test debut in Port Of Spain. Miracles do sometimes happen so if you fancy watching West Indies turning this series around then venture along to the wonderful Warner Park ground in Basseterre, St Kitts on 18th June then to the “Mecca” of Kensington Oval Barbados from June 26th for the third and final Test. Just don’t bank on any change of fortune.
For more information, please see the Definitive Caribbean Guide to Cricket.
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