October 9, 2012

Problem with West Indies cricket? What problem?

They won the World Twenty20 because they were the best team and the best dancers, and because this blogger said they would
25

That was a good tournament, but it wasn't a great tournament. There were no shock results, for a start. Call me old-fashioned but a tournament doesn't come alive until there's a proper honest-to-goodness, jaw-dropping shocker, of the kind that causes you to spit warm tea all over your copy of the Telegraph and immediately order the butler to gather everyone in the drawing room for an announcement:

"I'm afraid I have to inform you that earlier today, England were defeated by Ireland at cricket. Oh, do stop crying dear, we have to set an example for the staff."

It was also a bit damp around the edges, but then this soggy corner of the Sri Lankan calendar was the only place where the thing could go, and so it was duly squeezed in like a modestly sized Georgian side table in an already well-stocked second-hand furniture shop.

If last year's World Cup was a six-week safari, this was more of a rainy fortnight in Wales, but a rainy fortnight in Wales that left us with some memorable highlights. There was the spectacle of the English batsmen hacking away at thin air in the manner of short-sighted lumberjacks. There was Tony Greig bending down to interview Mahela Jayawardene like Santa Claus seeking clarification from a particularly shy little boy. And the image that will stay with me longest: the fearsome sight of Shapoor Zadran charging in, nostrils flared, arms pumping: like Fred Trueman doing a Waqar Younis impression.

And West Indies won, which was pleasing for three reasons:

1. They were the best team. 2. They were the best dancers. 3. I said they would.*

The triumph of West Indies also suggests that perhaps we'd all got it wrong. The problem with Caribbean cricket was not inter-island squabbling, the brain-boggling ineptitude of the WICB, the comic wrangling of TweedleHunte and TweedleRamnarine, or even the lure of basketball, baseball, croquet, macramé, or whatever else was said to be stealing away the nation's youth from the true path of leather and willow.

No, it turns out all that was needed was a bit of boring old discipline and a spot of unimaginative hard work. So well done to Darren Sammy and Ottis Gibson for stripping the vehicle down, removing the alloy wheels, the expensive chrome accessories and the go-faster stripes, and putting together something altogether more reliable, which may not look as flashy but which doesn't splutter to a grinding halt every five minutes.

Of course, the sun never sets on T20 cricket, and even before the final fireworks had fizzled to earth in Colombo, elsewhere, on a different continent, the place names were being laid out for the opening press conference of the next all-star extravaganza. On Sunday it's West Indies versus Sri Lanka; on Tuesday, say hello Yorkshire and Uva Next, featuring Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Jacob Oram, Hilary Clinton, Yohan Blake, and Jay Z.

*Pedantic readers might suggest that this account of my pre-tournament prediction is somewhat disingenuous; however, like a certain Presidential nominee, I refuse to have my blog dictated by fact-checkers.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • david on October 11, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    Enormous caveat to this discussion: It was only T20!

  • Andrew Hughes on October 11, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    Thanks all for your comments

    Circe, I know there's a recession on, but even if you have to let the scullery maid go, you should try to hang on to the butler. One has to try to maintain standards after all.

    Saj, I enjoyed your colourful nausea metaphor, but I doubt there's anything I can say to make you feel better, other than that, if it helps, I can assure you that I don't get paid by cheque.

    Mrs Doyle is clearly still upset at Ireland's soggy exit, but she is obviously a discerning tea drinker.

    And Angshuman is right. West Indies is not a nation. My English teacher would be appalled.

  • Angshuman Chatterjee on October 10, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    Grammar Police check: "nations' youth", not "nation's youth"

  • Jayesh Mohan on October 10, 2012, 5:35 GMT

    Far before the tournament starts, I have predicted the triumph of the west indies team. I always believed the all rounders and big hitters are the key in the shorter version of the the game. West Indies have a plenty of those in their side. Even if their key players gayle,bravo,samuels fails there would be sammy or pollard to give them a challenging total. And also they have a lot of bowling options as well, which makes them a best team of the game. They are always the best in the shorter versions. But may be not too good in test cricket.

  • Rafi on October 10, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    Even it was not a great game, West Indians made it enjoyous until the TV camera set off from the play ground.

  • saj on October 10, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    I have to say that this is a good for nothing article. this guys is vomiting something just for the sake of filling his column to get his pay check. no humor. no sense..so typical of this guy..

  • Lahiru Asanka on October 10, 2012, 1:45 GMT

    haha They were the best dancers.LOL WI have good players..they entertain us..and we love them..SL no worry abt that lost!WI is a very lucky country..anyway CONGRDZ WI..!

  • jaswanr behari on October 10, 2012, 0:44 GMT

    Shiv Chanderpaul,just the best!

  • Mrs Doyle on October 9, 2012, 19:51 GMT

    ...yes, Mr Hughes, get ready to spit your Lady Grey all over your copy of the Telegraph....tut, tut

  • Asiba on October 9, 2012, 19:29 GMT

    Yeah Thoroughly enjoyed this article !

  • david on October 11, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    Enormous caveat to this discussion: It was only T20!

  • Andrew Hughes on October 11, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    Thanks all for your comments

    Circe, I know there's a recession on, but even if you have to let the scullery maid go, you should try to hang on to the butler. One has to try to maintain standards after all.

    Saj, I enjoyed your colourful nausea metaphor, but I doubt there's anything I can say to make you feel better, other than that, if it helps, I can assure you that I don't get paid by cheque.

    Mrs Doyle is clearly still upset at Ireland's soggy exit, but she is obviously a discerning tea drinker.

    And Angshuman is right. West Indies is not a nation. My English teacher would be appalled.

  • Angshuman Chatterjee on October 10, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    Grammar Police check: "nations' youth", not "nation's youth"

  • Jayesh Mohan on October 10, 2012, 5:35 GMT

    Far before the tournament starts, I have predicted the triumph of the west indies team. I always believed the all rounders and big hitters are the key in the shorter version of the the game. West Indies have a plenty of those in their side. Even if their key players gayle,bravo,samuels fails there would be sammy or pollard to give them a challenging total. And also they have a lot of bowling options as well, which makes them a best team of the game. They are always the best in the shorter versions. But may be not too good in test cricket.

  • Rafi on October 10, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    Even it was not a great game, West Indians made it enjoyous until the TV camera set off from the play ground.

  • saj on October 10, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    I have to say that this is a good for nothing article. this guys is vomiting something just for the sake of filling his column to get his pay check. no humor. no sense..so typical of this guy..

  • Lahiru Asanka on October 10, 2012, 1:45 GMT

    haha They were the best dancers.LOL WI have good players..they entertain us..and we love them..SL no worry abt that lost!WI is a very lucky country..anyway CONGRDZ WI..!

  • jaswanr behari on October 10, 2012, 0:44 GMT

    Shiv Chanderpaul,just the best!

  • Mrs Doyle on October 9, 2012, 19:51 GMT

    ...yes, Mr Hughes, get ready to spit your Lady Grey all over your copy of the Telegraph....tut, tut

  • Asiba on October 9, 2012, 19:29 GMT

    Yeah Thoroughly enjoyed this article !

  • Dee on October 9, 2012, 18:44 GMT

    The West Indies weren't the best team, they lost twice with one no result. They played well but were also very very lucky.

  • Olly Horne on October 9, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    While I enjoyed watching them play, I have to say I was disappointed with the Windies' dancing.

    It looked to me in most instances like rather awkward 'chinese whispers' influenced versions of the horsey dance.

    Not what I was expecting at all. Maybe they'd been practising cricket instead.

  • walter on October 9, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    Cricinfo....pls refrain from publishing such nonsense....an insult to your readers....really.

  • Girija Prasad Koirala on October 9, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    The problem is with you, the writer of this article

  • Brian Paul on October 9, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    I am in total agreement with your views,right on point,say it aint so! The egoes and none discipline, the me factor,and insularity which will never leave Westindies cricket no matter what some say! you have said exactly what hundreads of true cricket fans always been saying,thanks for reminding them.

  • Albert Severin on October 9, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    If west indies had lost that match it would have been the umpire who would have cost us that lost.... because that decision againist Bravo and Russell was crutial ,,,,it was a bad decision at the time when samuel and Bravo was rescuing the team...Good bye umpire Tuffnill this was your last test...

  • naeem on October 9, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    darren bravo is far better then rusel

  • babar on October 9, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    i am very happy to see west indies as t20champion owesome gaule and samule well done

  • Anonymous on October 9, 2012, 9:25 GMT

    They played exceptionally well. does not mean that they were best. The victory is brought by two reason. One is your strong strategies and worked very well Or the opponent tean poor strategies were leads to another team success This time srilanka lost because of the home ountry pressure in fromnt of their country people.

  • syed md nowsad on October 9, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    West Indies is great teem now. hope they dominated world cricket again. syed nowsad

  • muhammad sheraz on October 9, 2012, 8:34 GMT

    it is very good to see that the winner/champion is west indies... they played well, show alot of patience,, i love west indies cricket,,,, they have great cricketers like gayle, sameul, bravo , pollard, russel, landel simmons,,,many more.

  • Circe on October 9, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    As a proud pedantic reader, I venture to suggest that your account of your pre-tournament prediction is somewhat disingenuous.

    Also, do British households still have butlers?

  • sandeepkanojia41@yahoo.in on October 9, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    1. They were the best team. 2. They were the best dancers. 3. I said they would.*

  • Anonymous on October 9, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    They are dancers..

  • Pakman on October 9, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    No team in the world would have celebrated like the Windies, which is why their victory was so welcomed by one and all.

    So much better than just howling and hooting or shouting obscenities (like Kirat Vohli). The celebrations actually stole the thunder away from the victory itself. And that's the way they played the whole tournament, enjoying their game, believing in themselves and their team-mates. Good on you, guys. Let's hope you can regain the place you once had.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Pakman on October 9, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    No team in the world would have celebrated like the Windies, which is why their victory was so welcomed by one and all.

    So much better than just howling and hooting or shouting obscenities (like Kirat Vohli). The celebrations actually stole the thunder away from the victory itself. And that's the way they played the whole tournament, enjoying their game, believing in themselves and their team-mates. Good on you, guys. Let's hope you can regain the place you once had.

  • Anonymous on October 9, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    They are dancers..

  • sandeepkanojia41@yahoo.in on October 9, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    1. They were the best team. 2. They were the best dancers. 3. I said they would.*

  • Circe on October 9, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    As a proud pedantic reader, I venture to suggest that your account of your pre-tournament prediction is somewhat disingenuous.

    Also, do British households still have butlers?

  • muhammad sheraz on October 9, 2012, 8:34 GMT

    it is very good to see that the winner/champion is west indies... they played well, show alot of patience,, i love west indies cricket,,,, they have great cricketers like gayle, sameul, bravo , pollard, russel, landel simmons,,,many more.

  • syed md nowsad on October 9, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    West Indies is great teem now. hope they dominated world cricket again. syed nowsad

  • Anonymous on October 9, 2012, 9:25 GMT

    They played exceptionally well. does not mean that they were best. The victory is brought by two reason. One is your strong strategies and worked very well Or the opponent tean poor strategies were leads to another team success This time srilanka lost because of the home ountry pressure in fromnt of their country people.

  • babar on October 9, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    i am very happy to see west indies as t20champion owesome gaule and samule well done

  • naeem on October 9, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    darren bravo is far better then rusel

  • Albert Severin on October 9, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    If west indies had lost that match it would have been the umpire who would have cost us that lost.... because that decision againist Bravo and Russell was crutial ,,,,it was a bad decision at the time when samuel and Bravo was rescuing the team...Good bye umpire Tuffnill this was your last test...