November 1, 2011

Those majestic West Indians

They pulverised India on tours here, but the home fans loved them regardless because of the way they played the game
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Fire in Babylon. Think what you will of Stevan Riley's work, but until it came along, it was difficult to explain to younger fans just how good West Indies once were without coming across as one of those obnoxious cricket-was-better-in-my-time types.

I got my first clues as a nine-year-old in that rubicon year for Indian cricket, 1983. As we played outside, my uncle listened to the World Cup final on the radio. Even when West Indies were 66 for 5, and 126 for 9, he refused to believe that it was over. When it was, the predominant emotion appeared to be disbelief. How could it have happened? How could a team with the batting of Greenidge, Haynes, Richards and Lloyd and the bowling of that quartet possibly lose?

A few months later, Lloyd's team came to India with retribution very much the name of the game. There was no Garner, and a fading Roberts played only the final two Tests, but the personnel available were more than adequate to emphatically underline the huge gulf between the two sides. My grandfather's letters spoke of the bravery with which Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar batted, and of pace bowling of a ferocity that India hadn't seen before.

Make no mistake, Indian pitches then were as batsman-friendly as they are now. But instead of whining, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Wayne Daniel just took the conditions out of the equation. West Indies won two of the six Tests by an innings and a third by 138 runs. Marshall took 33 wickets, Holding 30. Daniel, who'd probably have played 100 Tests if born elsewhere, finished with 14 from three Tests. They didn't lose a game all tour.

A cousin who wangled a pass to get into the Kotla on the eve of the second Test recalled watching Marshall and Holding in the nets. Spooked by the experience, he went up to Madan Lal and asked what India would do if there was a bouncer barrage the following day. Perhaps recalling that famous June day at Lord's a few months earlier, Madan Lal puffed out his chest and said: "Agar woh bouncer dalenge, toh hum bhi bouncer dalenge [If they bowl bouncers, so will we]."

There were two blackwashes of England, best remembered for grisly photographs of Mike Gatting's nose and Marshall bowling with his arm in plaster in Leeds, before West Indies returned to India four years later. By then, their relentless dominance had begun to polarise opinion.

For some impressionable kids like me, they were the players you wanted to be. You dreamt of batting with that panache and exuberance, of bowling with that pace and fielding with such nonchalance and agility. Others who had followed the game far longer, like David Frith, reckoned that intimidation by pace made a mockery of cricket.

In India, though, they remained hugely popular. In the first 33 Tests that they played in the country over nearly 40 years, they won 13 and lost just three. One of those Indian wins was in 1979, against a team decimated by defections to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket.

Back then, seeing West Indies play was as good as it got, bamboo scaffolding or not. Now, you'll be lucky to see 50,000 people over the three Tests. Sporting dominance is cyclical, but West Indies have been in the doldrums so long that the glory days of the 1980s seems like another life

Though they routinely made India look second-rate, West Indies were most people's second team here, playing a brand of cricket that was irresistible. Gavaskar named his son after Rohan Kanhai, of the falling sweep shot, and no trip to Chepauk is complete without stories from someone who watched Sobers or Hall in their prime.

By 1987-88, an era had passed. Marshall was unavailable, while Garner and Holding had followed Roberts into retirement. Walsh, Patterson and Davis didn't have the same ring to it, even though they were good enough to skittle India for 75 on the opening day of the series.

That was a truly remarkable Test. India responded by bowling West Indies out for 127, and Vengsarkar's century then put them in control. West Indies needed 276, the sort of target that had never been chased down in Indian conditions. But Richards smashed 109 from just 111 balls and West Indies did just that, showing the sort of self-belief that had made a mockery of a huge final-day chase at Lord's in 1984.

Narendra Hirwani ambushed them on an underprepared Chepauk pitch, and West Indian anger was given full expression in the one-day games that remained. They played eight in all, including one in Ahmedabad for the BCCI's Benevolent Fund. They won seven.

The last game of the tour was at the University Stadium in Trivandrum. My grandfather was 73 at the time, and had watched Lala Amarnath score a century against Douglas Jardine's Englishmen more than half a century earlier. He was determined to see the modern-day titans, and so we went - ten-hour train ride, hours in a queue, packed lunches and all.

The facilities were rudimentary, to put it charitably. We were fortunate enough to get some seats on stone steps. Others perched precariously atop makeshift bamboo galleries that would be considered safety hazards now.

India piled up 239 in 45 overs. By the run rates of the time, it was worth 350 now. Srikkanth's swashbuckling 101 had the fans in raptures, though there were also plenty of cheers when Richards had Ravi Shastri - leading the side, but a magnet for crowd displeasure wherever he went in India - stumped.

After lunch we settled down for what we assumed would be a gripping chase. Instead Greenidge and Phil Simmons - Lendl's uncle - walloped 164 for the first wicket. They won with 13 balls and nine wickets to spare. Richards, idol of idols, didn't even need to bat. I cursed quietly most of the way home.

Back then, seeing West Indies play was as good as it got, bamboo scaffolding or not. Now you'll be lucky to see 50,000 people over the three Tests. Sporting dominance is cyclical, but West Indies have been in the doldrums so long that the glory days of the 1980s seem like another life.

This, their first tour to India in nine years, could be a bridge too far for a callow side, but win or lose, I hope they play the game the right way. Their predecessors weren't just the best team I've ever seen. They had majesty and a spirit that made you want to play. Perhaps that's what greatness really is.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Valavan on | November 3, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    @Amit chatterjee, interesting point that you say current indian batters will take care of windies greats of 80s, oh ye the same way Bresnan,Broad,Anderson and tremlett took care of your starstudded batters back in England this summer. Sunil Gavaskar played the most venomous bowlers, has hit many centuries in WI in prime, ofcourse against star bowlers of aussies,we did see how gautam gambhir, suresh raina, yuvraj singh, VVS playing out of subcontinent. Sore truth is that. cricinfo please publish

  • POSTED BY Mitcher on | November 3, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    @serious-am-i: Be assured the legendary Windies sides were well known for a well-placed sledge here or there. All power to them. All part of the battle.

  • POSTED BY Longmemory on | November 3, 2011, 0:32 GMT

    Nice article. Couple of relevant points. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, wins by touring teams in India were worth twice what they are today because of the abysmal quality of home-grown umpiring. Almost every other bat-pad catch appeal would be upheld against visiting teams - or so it seemed. In that context, what the Windies pulled off was remarkable - as was what Tony Greig did in the mid-1970s when he led a team to India and whipped us 3-1. English teams of today would do well to go back and look at those tapes to see how he did it. I hate to disagree with the great Vivian Richards - but I think he errs when he describes Madan Lal as the world's fastest off-spinner. I am sure there's many an offie who was quicker than good old Madan Lal ;)

  • POSTED BY KishoreSharma on | November 2, 2011, 20:10 GMT

    Raghavaraju Dutta and Gerry the Merry are right regarding the wickets prepared during the 1983 tour. Ahmedabad and Kanpur were dodgy. However, the win on a docile Calcutta pitch was very credible. I also think 1979 to 1995 is a long period and there was not a single team then. So we need to break things down. In terms of sheer talent and completeness, I think the 1979 team which beat Australia 2-0 was the best. In terms of professionalism and killer instinct, the teams in 1984 and 1985 had this in greater abundance. There was a slight lull from 1987 to 1988 as Holding and Garner retired before things picked up again with the introduction of Ambrose, Bishop and Walsh. However, the batting in the late 1980s and eraly 1990s could not compare with that in the late 1970s and early 1980s. So, we need to be more nuanced in our analysis here.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 19:51 GMT

    Very good article, its a pity to see the Windies team play like Kenyans. I am sure our present lot of test batsmen would had taken good care of the windies 80's bowlers. This test series will be waste of time, windies will be pasted desi style like ginger garlic.

  • POSTED BY praghunathan on | November 2, 2011, 19:02 GMT

    Clive Lloyd's WI were a great team, no doubt. But the author's examples to justify their greatness is poor.

    To do justice, he must look to the WI tours of England, Viv's two massive double 100's, WI defeating England 5-0 later in England. WI winning 4-0 in Australia.

    WI dominating the one-day format from 1975 until 84-85 (even after losing to India at the WC).

    Flowery writing is all very good, but it is also important to know your cricket, and the author does not come across as knowing much.

  • POSTED BY alonsoe on | November 2, 2011, 17:54 GMT

    Great article, I can very much identify with the writer and the Indian fans. Even though I am a West Indian I apperciate and cheer for great cricketers who play tough, exciting cricket. Hence I have always looked forward to see Sachin, S. Pollock, Adam Gilchrist, Waquar, Vensarkar, Armanath,Gavaskar, Kapil, Imran, Gower, Hadlee. And even when these guys did well against the West Indies it was pleasure for me to see good cricket. In terms of great teams I think the West Indies team from the late 70s to the late 80s was the greatest cricket team ever. What many of us overlook is how good the other teams were because the W.I. team was so dominating. I think that era of cricket ( including Packer series) saw some of the most competitive cricket ever, but many of us who lived it could not tell because of the awesome men lead by Lloyd and Viv.

  • POSTED BY m_ilind on | November 2, 2011, 17:03 GMT

    I hope WI get back to their glory days...well maybe not that invincible, but certainly they become good enough to be one of the top four teams of the current era!

  • POSTED BY krishna_cricketfan on | November 2, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    If there is one thing that I want cricket to get back, then I will prefer getting Westindies cricket in full glory. I am yet to come across one Indian fan who will NOT praise that glory past of windies. We all know we got beaten badly. Yet, that fantastic performers were always admired, respected with awe and praised. We used to listen to BBC and ABC even when windies were playing england and Australia in those countries. Such was the respect for the great Windies cricketers. I want them back. Cricket is boring without them.

  • POSTED BY Cool_Jeeves on | November 2, 2011, 13:47 GMT

    After 20 years, i feel that the 80s Windies will still be talked about more than the 2000 Aussies.

  • POSTED BY Valavan on | November 3, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    @Amit chatterjee, interesting point that you say current indian batters will take care of windies greats of 80s, oh ye the same way Bresnan,Broad,Anderson and tremlett took care of your starstudded batters back in England this summer. Sunil Gavaskar played the most venomous bowlers, has hit many centuries in WI in prime, ofcourse against star bowlers of aussies,we did see how gautam gambhir, suresh raina, yuvraj singh, VVS playing out of subcontinent. Sore truth is that. cricinfo please publish

  • POSTED BY Mitcher on | November 3, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    @serious-am-i: Be assured the legendary Windies sides were well known for a well-placed sledge here or there. All power to them. All part of the battle.

  • POSTED BY Longmemory on | November 3, 2011, 0:32 GMT

    Nice article. Couple of relevant points. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, wins by touring teams in India were worth twice what they are today because of the abysmal quality of home-grown umpiring. Almost every other bat-pad catch appeal would be upheld against visiting teams - or so it seemed. In that context, what the Windies pulled off was remarkable - as was what Tony Greig did in the mid-1970s when he led a team to India and whipped us 3-1. English teams of today would do well to go back and look at those tapes to see how he did it. I hate to disagree with the great Vivian Richards - but I think he errs when he describes Madan Lal as the world's fastest off-spinner. I am sure there's many an offie who was quicker than good old Madan Lal ;)

  • POSTED BY KishoreSharma on | November 2, 2011, 20:10 GMT

    Raghavaraju Dutta and Gerry the Merry are right regarding the wickets prepared during the 1983 tour. Ahmedabad and Kanpur were dodgy. However, the win on a docile Calcutta pitch was very credible. I also think 1979 to 1995 is a long period and there was not a single team then. So we need to break things down. In terms of sheer talent and completeness, I think the 1979 team which beat Australia 2-0 was the best. In terms of professionalism and killer instinct, the teams in 1984 and 1985 had this in greater abundance. There was a slight lull from 1987 to 1988 as Holding and Garner retired before things picked up again with the introduction of Ambrose, Bishop and Walsh. However, the batting in the late 1980s and eraly 1990s could not compare with that in the late 1970s and early 1980s. So, we need to be more nuanced in our analysis here.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 19:51 GMT

    Very good article, its a pity to see the Windies team play like Kenyans. I am sure our present lot of test batsmen would had taken good care of the windies 80's bowlers. This test series will be waste of time, windies will be pasted desi style like ginger garlic.

  • POSTED BY praghunathan on | November 2, 2011, 19:02 GMT

    Clive Lloyd's WI were a great team, no doubt. But the author's examples to justify their greatness is poor.

    To do justice, he must look to the WI tours of England, Viv's two massive double 100's, WI defeating England 5-0 later in England. WI winning 4-0 in Australia.

    WI dominating the one-day format from 1975 until 84-85 (even after losing to India at the WC).

    Flowery writing is all very good, but it is also important to know your cricket, and the author does not come across as knowing much.

  • POSTED BY alonsoe on | November 2, 2011, 17:54 GMT

    Great article, I can very much identify with the writer and the Indian fans. Even though I am a West Indian I apperciate and cheer for great cricketers who play tough, exciting cricket. Hence I have always looked forward to see Sachin, S. Pollock, Adam Gilchrist, Waquar, Vensarkar, Armanath,Gavaskar, Kapil, Imran, Gower, Hadlee. And even when these guys did well against the West Indies it was pleasure for me to see good cricket. In terms of great teams I think the West Indies team from the late 70s to the late 80s was the greatest cricket team ever. What many of us overlook is how good the other teams were because the W.I. team was so dominating. I think that era of cricket ( including Packer series) saw some of the most competitive cricket ever, but many of us who lived it could not tell because of the awesome men lead by Lloyd and Viv.

  • POSTED BY m_ilind on | November 2, 2011, 17:03 GMT

    I hope WI get back to their glory days...well maybe not that invincible, but certainly they become good enough to be one of the top four teams of the current era!

  • POSTED BY krishna_cricketfan on | November 2, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    If there is one thing that I want cricket to get back, then I will prefer getting Westindies cricket in full glory. I am yet to come across one Indian fan who will NOT praise that glory past of windies. We all know we got beaten badly. Yet, that fantastic performers were always admired, respected with awe and praised. We used to listen to BBC and ABC even when windies were playing england and Australia in those countries. Such was the respect for the great Windies cricketers. I want them back. Cricket is boring without them.

  • POSTED BY Cool_Jeeves on | November 2, 2011, 13:47 GMT

    After 20 years, i feel that the 80s Windies will still be talked about more than the 2000 Aussies.

  • POSTED BY Cool_Jeeves on | November 2, 2011, 13:46 GMT

    Raghavaraju Datla has made a precise comment. The 3-0 was achieved on poor quality wickets, especially Ahmedabad and Calcutta. The author is lazy or ignorant or mistakenly romantic and wants to glorify the West Indians, while making room to explain today's batsmens' feasting on flat tracks. West Indians were glorious but frequently, our umpires looked the otherway when outrageous attacks were happening. E.g. Holding against Kirmani (beamers as Kirmani exposed all his stumps were directed at his body). So the West Indies got lousy wickets and friendly umpiring. Their batsmen would have scored more runs on these wickets had they been challenged.

  • POSTED BY CollisKing on | November 2, 2011, 11:07 GMT

    'MAJESTIC' is just the perfect description. Our Windies team from that era were the greatest in cricket history. Good luck to Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Fidel Edwards and the rest of the squad for the upcoming series.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 7:26 GMT

    they had roberts,holding,marshal,daniel.we had kapil,sandhu,madanlal,binny,kirthy azad&raghuram bhat.you can see the difference.cannons vs popguns

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    Lovely article. Harshthakor, also don't forget the warmth of the Indian people. I remember Clive Lloyd saying about the 1974-75 tour, after Windies won the final test and with it the series, the crowd wouldn't leave the ground until the Windies players had done a lap of honour. A truly memorable moment!

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    mr dilip is wrong .westindies won 3-0 on bowler friendly pitches.even their batsmen struugled.rest of the matches we could easily drew.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    As someone born in 1988 I've seen very little of the West Indian Legends except Lara and a bit of Ambrose and Walsh.But the the story of 1983 is something which is very special for me as an Indian Fan.Looking at these players and the current team you simply can't believe how a Champion has fallen to such low depths in the last 15 years.Really feel for my West Indian Brethren and the Legends who helped build the great team.Garner,Roberts,Marshall and their ilk were dream fast bowlers any day while King Richards was truly a rockstar in his time.Not to forget the Late Frank Worrel and Clive Lloyd who were great visionaries.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    Lovely article. Harshthakor, also don't forget the warmth of the Indian people. I remember Clive Lloyd saying about the 1974-75 tour, after Windies won the final test and with it the series, the crowd wouldn't leave the ground until the Windies players had done a lap of honour. A truly memorable moment!

  • POSTED BY sportyg214 on | November 2, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    Great article. It is depressing having grown up with that great WI team on the international scene and now seeing them struggle. Could we dare suggest, at risk of creating an international incident, which is a better side: Windies of 80's or Steve Waugh's Aus of early 00's? I played a friendly game against Joel Garner in about 1999 and he was still damn quick at 50+ and the bounce was incredible. I cannot imagine facing him in his prime! I played Premier league cricket in Natal against guys like Shaun Pollock, Lance Klusner, Richard Snel, Neil Johnson, Peter Rawson and Tertius Bosch and Garner at 50 was more difficult to play. Three West Indians always stood out in our league, Malcolm MArshall and then 2 lesser know stars from the Windies rebel tour to SA in mid 80's, Collis King and Hartley Alleyne. They were always awesome and a clear cut above our guys.

  • POSTED BY SriUSA on | November 2, 2011, 3:29 GMT

    Good one by Dileep. Same feelings here. The WI teams of 70s and 80s were the greatest in cricket history. The batsmen and the bowlers are class apart. No team ever dominated world cricket so elegantly for so long and loved world over. Hats off to those wonderful cricketers. They are legends forever.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | November 2, 2011, 3:15 GMT

    The best West Indian performers in India in my time were Andy Roberts who single -handedly spearheaded the attack capturing 32 wickets in 1974-75 ,Clive Lloyd who batted like a champion aggregating over 500 runs in both 1974-75 and 1983-84 ,Courtney Walsh who bowled brilliantly in 1988 and 1994 as well as Michael Holding and Malcolm Marshall in 1983-84.

    My favourite Indian performer was Gundappa Vishwanath in 1974-75 who simply mastered the calypso attack like a doctor putting a patient at ease.Kapil Dev's 29 wicket haul in 1983-84 was also phenomenal.I also remember Gavasakar's masterly 90 on a broken Ahmedabad track in 1983-84.

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | November 2, 2011, 3:06 GMT

    In full flow the calypsos radiated more pleasure than any team in the world with the likes of Greenidge,Haynes,Richards,Lloyd,Marshall,Roberts,Walsh,Holding etc.They reminded you of King Alexander's army annexing territory after territory.It is unforgettable the way they bounced back to avenge their world cup defeat in 1983 to trounce India 3-0.Significantly even champion Australian sides have not beaten India with that level of conviction.Watching the great paceman was a truly majestic sight and I would pay to watch the strokeplay of Greenidge,Richards and Lloyd.Under Clive Lloyd in 1979080 and 1984 West Indies were arguably the best test team ever,superior to the recent Australian champion teams and in the same class as Bradman's 1948 invincibles.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 1:32 GMT

    @ Baiju Joseph...are you kidding me? Roach ,the Finns Cummins and the Steyns not being not being any different from the bowlers like Garner, Roberts, Marshall and co. You cannot be SERIOUS?

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 23:23 GMT

    WI cricket during the golden years was the best ever, in my view. I feel sorry for the younger WI cricket fans who know nothing but a losing team. There was a high degree of professionalism, skill, pride, a fierce determination and a collective confidence that basically said, "we're going to beat you no matter who is on your side or what the conditions are." The WI 4-prong was deadly, constant pace mixed in with rib smashers. Holding, Roberts, Marsall, Garner & Croft were constantly after batsmen and they knew it. Garner was especially tight. I remember back in '84 at POS,he kept Border on 98 for what seemed like an eternity!He came in n.o. at the same score batting at #5. I believe Ponting, Tendulkar & co would've had a difficult time consistently scoring runs against such an attack. It's hard to "sort out" 4 threats in one inning. These guys were fast and menacing at the same time. Only Border, Amarnath & Lamb scored

  • POSTED BY west_indiesBoss on | November 1, 2011, 23:02 GMT

    @Baiju Joseph its not that batsmen are now accustommed to short bowling.. its cus the icc has made the bowler much weaker.. batsmen have nothing to fear! one bouncer per over! come on! just now they might start banning bowlers from bowling over 140

  • POSTED BY Kaze on | November 1, 2011, 22:07 GMT

    @RohanMarkJay_TestCricketRules Don't know what you were watching but no WI team beat Australia 5-0 home and away. Australia have thumped them 5-0 and 5-1 . You are mixing up England.

  • POSTED BY Dilmah82 on | November 1, 2011, 21:27 GMT

    Those West Indian teams were loved world wide despite the thrashings they gave some other teams. Such flare, talent and entertainment. In contrast the recent dominant Aussie sides and even the Indian one that was briefly on top were not globally as popular! Unlike the aussies the windies didn't need to use outright sledging & abuse to succeed! As for the bouncers...as Andy Roberts said if you can't handle the heat get out of the way! The batsmen with brillant techniques succeeded. Those more mediocre did not. Gavaskar, Gooch, Border, Boycott, Gower, Lamb, Ian Chappell were amongst those that did well and their ex-pacemen acknowledge this. Strange that some people are calling them bad sports...In the last decade alone hasn't India threatened at least twice (in SOuth Africa & Australia) to go home from a tour when things such as umpiring or referees doidn't go their way. ANd what about currently bullying the other 9 test teams not to use technology because they haven't mastered it yet!

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | November 1, 2011, 20:52 GMT

    Thanks a million to those who gave us a timely reminder about Kapil Dev. He took 29 wickets at an average and economy rate (18.51 and 2.64) better than Marshall, Holding, Roberts, Wayne Daniel and Winston Davis. That's phenomenal to match and better the Windies, wicket for wicket, with no help from the other end. Kapil Dev was indeed the better allrounder among the 4 great allrounders of that era. No disrespect to Imran, Hadlee and Botham though. We are blessed to have seen all of them live, in action. This discussion is giving me goose bumps.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 20:21 GMT

    With reference to Baiju Joseph above: " I dont see the Roach, the Finns, the Cummins and the Steyns of today being any different from them" ... REALLY???

    As always Dileep, your passion and knowledge of West Indian cricket shines through. You are well aware of my thoughts on Fire In Babylon, echoing those of InsideHedge in an earlier comment. That is however irrelevant.

    That was a team which made people dream, not only West Indians but those throughout the world, and their legacy can never be tainted.

  • POSTED BY Leggie on | November 1, 2011, 19:39 GMT

    @Madhavan - totally agree. What stands out distinctly in that WI dominated era especially in India is that India's bowling was toothless - barring Kapil Dev. Considering that he had almost zero support from the other end, it is a phenomenal achievement that Kapil took 54 wickets against WI in the three home series he played at this time at an average of 26. His overall record against the mighty WI was 89 wickets @ 24 per wicket, and a batting average of 30 with three unforgettable centuries, a brilliant 98 and many more fifties. Kapil was also the first to prove to the world that WI *can* be beaten - the ODI at Berbice being a landmark ODI. If at all the great man had a blot, it was his failure with the bat in the '83 series. For his sheer performance against the best in the world, Kapil should be rated #1 amongst the greats of Botham, Imran, Hadlee and Kapil.

  • POSTED BY RohanMarkJay on | November 1, 2011, 19:28 GMT

    This is a team that beat England and Australia. 5-0. Home and away, what more can you say. I think that says it all of how good they were. Like the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team or the 1992 American Dream Team basketball team, other famous all black sports teams. They captured the imagination of ordinary sports fans let alone cricket fans everywhere.

  • POSTED BY doesitmatter on | November 1, 2011, 18:59 GMT

    Let me be the devil's advocate ..Great team but poor players of quality legspin..Chandra,Qadir,Hirwani the proof may be..By the way why the heck a spinning pitch is called under-prepared? absurd ..recent eg SL vs Aus..

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    I think sachin ponting kallis and sehwag would have fared well against the windies of yore. I dont see the Roach, the Finns, the Cummins and the Steyns of today being any different from them, yet all these players have been conquered albeit with the respect that they deserve. The striking difference is the novelity that each generation used to bring along with them. The windies bowler brought in a lot of aggro, pace and persistence to their bowling which was till then an alien thing. Such was the use that people would dread them even while sleeping. This continued till batsmen managed to gain control over the short bowling. Batting has been a lot different ever since. Same can be said about somebody like Ajantha Mendis who was ushered in as a mystery spinner, and he was dreaded till the time he remained mysterious, once he was sorted he no longer remained a threat. Hence its all about sorting out the threat every novel bowler brings to the table.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 18:10 GMT

    Mention should be made about the magnificent Kapil Dev in the 1983 series who took nearly as many wickets as Marshall did (I think 30) in the same pitches.. and he hunted alone unlike Marshall who had great fast bowlers bowling along with him in tandem.. He was bowling to arguably one of the finest west indian batting line ups: Greenidge,Haynes, Richards, Gomes, Lloyd, and Dujon. Some times we conveniently forget the great man and what he did for Indian cricket bowling in our lifeless pitches with practically no support from the other end..

  • POSTED BY UglyIndian on | November 1, 2011, 18:08 GMT

    @ nuru76 - 2 things mate. 1) People loved the West Indies teams of that era because of their flamboyance on the field and for the skills they brought to the table, and not for what they would say about a particular cricket board 30 years later. 2) I'm indian too, and I feel they are absolutely entitled to their opinion on Indian cricket, more than dare I say - you, because hey, they've played cricket at the highest level. And I actually tend to agree with a lot of what they have to say. They seem refreshingly unbiased - thats more than one can say about many Indian commentators. And finally, you'd realize, the people who appreciate them, do so, because they love the game. They felt that the game was bigger than a provincial mindset. It's a shame we don't find too many such people in India these days.

  • POSTED BY 2929paul on | November 1, 2011, 17:58 GMT

    For those who have only ever read about them or seen the videos, it really is a case of "you had to be there". I was turned on to cricket by these guys when they came to England in 1976. I was 10 and went to watch my first Tests. The atmosphere was electric - at the Oval, you could have been in Kensington Jamaica, not Kennington, London. To watch Holding, Roberts and Daniel run in, with the WI supporters ramping up the noise, meant that no other sport had a chance. Cricket boring? Not with this lot around. Greenidge became my role model as an opening batsman - he was the complete opposite of an English opener (think Boycott and you will understand what I'm saying). Of course I always wanted England to win but WI raised the bar in the 80s. Batsmen scoring 50 against WI had really achieved something, 100 was monumental. That was true Test cricket and any win was truly savoured. They were ruthless in ODIs also, so wins in those games meant something as well.

  • POSTED BY Punter_28 on | November 1, 2011, 17:45 GMT

    Like that barritone voice of the Boney M saying " Oh those Russians", one can only say the same " Oh, those Windies"!!!...Where are those happy days, they seem so hard to find.....Those marauding Windies were like and loved by one and all across the Globe, be it India, Australia, England or where ever they played...that was the true spirit with which they played this great game, even when their own home team got pummeled & pulverized the fans all across the world loved the very sight of those champions...

  • POSTED BY nuru76 on | November 1, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    Not all fans like the west indies team of that era ... i mean just listen to some of remarks of holding and bishop on air , their subtleties despise our indian cricket on the whole , its true , hear them carefully u shd find lot of sarcastic comments directed at indian ckt .

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | November 1, 2011, 16:14 GMT

    It's a pity that "Fire in Babylon" excludes a great batsman such as Alvin Kallicharran. The director was an American, he would have needed expert input, the experts should hang their head in shame.

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | November 1, 2011, 16:12 GMT

    Some of us were fortunate enough to see the Windies in action from the 70s onwards, others were in diamond territory having seen the 60s outfit. The kids who come on here and talk about the great teams need to qualify their statements, if you never saw a particular team, you're in no position to write comparisons - even if your comparisons conclude correctly!

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 16:04 GMT

    I remember the 1987-88 series because of the 2 innings played by Vengsarkar in the Kotla and Eden tests (he retired with a broken arm courtesy Davis); Richards Hundred at Kotla & in the ODI where he hit 7 sixes; Greenidge, Logie , Hooper scoring tons at Eden gardens; Hirwani 16 wickets at Chepauk; Kapil scoring 87 of 65 balls against patterson, walsh and co. in a losing cause; Mohinder playing some good cricket on his return; Srikkanth blazing at Wankhede and the final ODI; Shastri showing good leadership skills; Chetan and Kapil bowling good spells at Kotla; Kapil's 1st day hundred at Chepauk ...... all said a good series

  • POSTED BY henchart on | November 1, 2011, 15:22 GMT

    Vengsarkar played a gem of an innings in Bombay .It was the 4th test of the 1983-84 series.Some of the coverdrives he played were literally crashing the advertisement boards .I wonder how Sachin,Ponting ,Kallis ,Sehwag and Hayden would have fared against Holding ,Roberts,Croft ,Garner and Malcolm at their peak.Sachin is the best .He would have done well against these WI giants.But again ...........

  • POSTED BY Yankindc on | November 1, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    This article brings back memories..WI vs Ind 1st Test,Bangalore '74-'75. The great Greenidge and Richards making their test debuts!!..how lucky does it get.I remember going to watch the 4th day's play after Greenidge had made 93 and 107* and batted as if he had been playing test cricket for years, Richards(0&12), but can still not forget the spectacular acrobatic catch he took at short-leg of Gavaskar, Llyod walking to the crease dragging his bat like a club and proceeding to club India into submission(163*).Until that day I had never personally seen a guy that tall in my life!..only in hollywood movies and comic books!! Yeah I remember the long queues to get to the stadium by "special" buses to the KSCA stadium(it was very new at that time), the queues to get into the stadium, sitting on the cheap concrete seats in the stands, the whole stadium buzzing..heaven for a 13-yr old. India were skittled out by Roberts,Holder&co..match over around mid-day and heading home totally bummed out!

  • POSTED BY Mfalme on | November 1, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    Given an option I'll certainly chose to watch, over 5 days, a test match video of the WI teams of those by gone era than a live telecast of modern day test match involving any two nations. Those of us who saw them playing live were really fortunate and those who missed could never imagine how unfortunate they were.

  • POSTED BY ravi_hari on | November 1, 2011, 14:09 GMT

    Good curtain raiser for probably a one-sided series. This article should be read by Sammy and party. Windies upto 1987 were irrepressible. Once in a while an Aussie team or an England team would resist them otherwise no one had the skill to tackle them. It was only batsmen like Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, Vishwanath and Amarnath who could face them with courage and skill. Gaikwad also showed a lot of courage and Sardesai went after them. However, the bowling was so strong that the resistance was limited to only one innings in the match. Their batting was also so good that any bowling will not be able to take 20 wickets in 5 days. Things change and for Windies the slide began with the retirement of Richards. Once Walsh retired bowling died and they could never recover. The glamour of soccer has taking the sheed out of cricket and youngsters started neglecting circket for soccer. Today you just see some flashes of brilliance but no team effort. Sammy himself does not merit a place in the side

  • POSTED BY Scube on | November 1, 2011, 13:53 GMT

    @here2rock: To be honest, yours is a fair comment! It's not that fans wanted their team to lose to THE team, but were typically hoping against hope that their team might somehow pull the rabbit out of the hat! When that happened once a while, everyone would be flabbergasted! But most often, normalcy will prevail but the home fans won't necessarily be shattered because it was afterall expected and won't also feel ashamed because the winners were a thorough professional and far superior outfit who always played the game in it's true spirit and didn't resort to "mental disintegration" and the likes to fool the opponents and the public!

  • POSTED BY rkannancrown on | November 1, 2011, 13:11 GMT

    Dileep has hit the nail on the head refarding Ravi Shastri. Two players in the Indian team of the eighties stand out for being selected for wrong reasons - ravi shastri & Kiran More. More's pathetic keeping destroyed Kapil's strike rate & killed potential fast bowlers like Chetan Sharma & Raju Kulkarni. Shastri remains the only cricketeer who was booed out of the game by fans tired of seeing him repeatedly defeat India by his painfully slow batting, refusal to run singles, horrible fielding & absurd bowling. Shastri & More togetjher knocked India out of the 87 & 92 World Cups.

  • POSTED BY rkannancrown on | November 1, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    I think Dileep Premchandran has overlooked the blasting that Srikkanth gave Patterson in the second test making him a pale shadow for the rest of the 87 tour. By the 87 tour, the Windies were no longer the invincible team of the early 80s and the Windies lost at Cheapuk but Indian team played quite ok. However, the Lloyd led team remains easily the best team to have played in the last 3 decades. If they had played Steve Waugh's Australians, they would have beaten them hollow. Wayne Daniel was truly unfortunate to have played at the wrong time - he would have been considered a great fast bowler in any other team.

  • POSTED BY Scube on | November 1, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    Probably the best article by a mile from Dileep! 80s Windies are undoubtedly the most loved & equally feared cricket team of all times! woul'd have loved to know the reaction of Dileep's cousin to the most humourous statement from the fastest offspinner ever: "Agar woh bouncer dalenge, toh hum bhi bouncer dalenge [If they bowl bouncers, so will we]" - a fitting example for the height of Optimism! His cousin must have laughed to death most probably in front of Madanlal himself! Comment about Shastri as a magnet for crowd displeasure wherever he went in India is also absolutely right and brings back vivid memories of those times!

  • POSTED BY mavashia on | November 1, 2011, 12:28 GMT

    Makes me wonder how great Sunil Gavaskar -- for him to score so consistently against this quality of attack-- amazing feat ! Hats off to original little master..

  • POSTED BY Venkatb on | November 1, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    I first saw the Windies in 66-67 in Calcutta, a Test better known for the New Year's Day riots. In 1974-75, their entry on to the field would be greeted much the way the Harlem Globetrotters were greeted, followed by amazing calisthenics, much like a circus opening act. We had hoped Sobers and Kanhai would travel to India but unfortunately that was not to be. I watched them on 2 grounds - Hyderabad where Lloyd opened the 2nd innings with Greendige and we saw the equivalent of a T20 batting display and 9 players along the boundary - the other was the Madras Test a pure Roberts vs. Vish display! The 83-84 team was all-pace - amazing the Indian players played with such little protective gear - with today's equipment, batsmen would have played much better than the ducking and the blows they took! One reason Richards was as dominant as a batsman was the pace attack behind him - nobody sans Lillee could bowl a bouncer at him for fear the WI bowlers would retaliate!

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    I still remeMber the NEWS PAPER headlines: "IT'S MARSHALL LAW @ KOTLA"

  • POSTED BY serious-am-i on | November 1, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    It was the best team I have ever even heard of. Many speak of Australia's dominance but they were no where close to the mighty WIndies at their best. Australia's dominance was only in sledging, I give that. Its more pathetic to see a team like England trying to follow in Aus footsteps of sledge to win. Windies weren't good at sledging rather they hardly hard a word with an opposition player. The look the gave to the batsmen was simply mind-blowing. The best aspect of all is they played with dignity and honor. True Gentlemen, the real children of the cricket the gentleman's game.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    One of the best articles on my dream team of all times. Started watching cricket from 1982-83 when I was 8-9 years old, and a simple thing got instilled in my mind - there were two teams - one was almighty Windies and the other was a novice team ready to be minced (even Aus, Eng). Garner - the gr8st ODI bowler who could bowl bouncers and yorkers with same accuracy (in fact batsmen cud not fathom what would come from 10 ft), Marshall - the most dangerous fast bowler, Holding - lethal smooth fast bowling machine supported by aging Roberts and emerging Daniel (am not mentioning the gr8s Ambrose, Walsh). Combine them with gr8st opening test and odi pair - Greenidge, Haynes, followed by the KING Richards and Supercat Lloyd with the reliable keeper Dujon. No team could ever match their grace and might as they did. 80s did have gr8 bowlers and batsmen in all the world - but they simply crushed everyone.

    Kudos for this nostalgic writeup. They are indeed "Brazil" of cricket.

  • POSTED BY Rakim on | November 1, 2011, 11:26 GMT

    Wasim Akram himself said "Malcom Marshall is the greatest"; Shoaib Akhtar recently said "The way Sunil Gavaskar played WI's quartet makes him the greatest batsman from India". I never saw them play but I've no doubt they were greatest team ever. And no modern (post 90s) cricket can be rated as equal as those magnificent cricketers. And it amuses me how there is still a debate about greatest batsman ever (Sir Viv Richards > ALL)

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | November 1, 2011, 10:41 GMT

    Well tried Dileep. But, honestly, can we really describe The West Indian Legends? They are above any kind of communication and description that spoken or written language would permit. Take a bow to those all-conquering Mighty West Indians. They conquered the hearts of the people whom they decimated. That's the trait that sets them apart. Aggression, passion and playing with fire in the belly doesn't mean mouthing off your opponent and chirping constantly, making one look like an idiot. A timeless, priceless, simple lesson for all the generations to come; across the globe; in any sport; in any walk of life. But who would listen? People think McGrath was aggressive because he chirps. And now, the new passionate kid on the block is Bresnan who snatches his cap from the umpire. Nel, Kohli, Ponting, Symonds, Harbhajan, S.Waugh, Hayden - all passionate you see! Nobody wants to be like the mighty West Indians or Dravid or Sachin or Kallis because they don't chirp and hence not passionate!

  • POSTED BY thegoodgame on | November 1, 2011, 10:40 GMT

    Very true. I too remember when we were kids in the apartment (in Mumbai, India) where I grew up, we used to divide ourselves up into 2 teams. One team was always 'West Indies'! I grew up on stories such as: Holding's run up was so straight and elegant, the batsman did not need a sight screen - he could spot the ball on Holdings white shirt! and there was always the inconclusive debate about how many raw eggs Viv Richards had at breakfast for his incredible strength! And I still remember Marshall bowling to Gavaskar at Green Park, Kanpur and how the bat went spiralling out of Gavaskars hand - so furious was Marshall's pace. And one about Viv Richards calling Madan Lal the fastest offspinner on earth. And wasnt it Clive Llyod who had the heaviest bat at the time - Big Bertha it was called I think. what an awesome team. Many of my Indian friends will be able to name all 11 players of that team even if they were woken from deep sleep - so powerful was the WI teams image at that time!

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 10:32 GMT

    West Indies might never reach the heights of glory everyone saw in the 80's,but the current crop sure seems to have the right ingredients to be a good side.

  • POSTED BY krnataraj on | November 1, 2011, 10:10 GMT

    the first time i saw them at chepauk when sunny gavaskar scored a wonderful double hundred. when our bowlers like kapil bowled the ball was coming to batsmen about just over waist height. when the likes of holding and marshall bowled on the same wicket the ball was flying all over the indian players shoulders and heads. the unfortunate incident of the match the windies refused to applaud gavaskar's double hundered becoz they felt he was out much earlier in the innings and refused to walk away.

  • POSTED BY farazzubair on | November 1, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    A recall of probably Cricket's most entertaining and professional era.No wonder there are people on this thread who just dont understand whats being talked about.25 years, who the hell gives heck to a timeline when whatever WI did back then looked timeless and yes someone mentioned how can someone support the opposing team at the expense of their own.I am sure that guy has no idea of cricket back in the 80's.Its like watching Don play against your team and wanting him to score so you could see the real magic at play,but not wanting your team to lose.No sir no, they were no sore losers.At least they dont stand in the same bracket as the Aussies do.Case in point they accepted the 1983 WC defeat but came back harder.Their glowing run-ups,their majestic batting line-up,their out of the world fielders;Everything they did had pure majesty written all over it.I would never compare any dominance to the WI one back in the 80's.Aussies were defeated time and again during their reign and did lose

  • POSTED BY VivGilchrist on | November 1, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    Just checked Wayne Daniels stats - Amazing. Poor guy only played 10 Tests, but by todays standards he'd probably be in the top 5 best bowlers going around.

  • POSTED BY Behind_the_bowlers_arm on | November 1, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    Cricket is one game hopefully where there can be respect for great teams that arent your own. Grew up in Australia in the 70's and can remember the West Indies being hugely popular because of the way they played even in the 80's when they were the top dog and winning against Australia after the humiliation of 75/76. Can always remember watching Richards and Lloyd chasing an easy 180 odd in a one day game at the WACA and toying with the bowlers by having a private contest to see which one could hit the ball harder and further. Also had my similar Richards moment when i made a special trip (not 10 hours though) to see him bat in a one day game against Western Australia. He was run out without facing a ball. It was a privilege to watch the great West Indians and like most cricket fans i think the current decline is the saddest thing in the game.

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | November 1, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    I first saw the West indies as a team in 1959 in the Delhi Test match. I had seen Frank Worrell earlier though, in 1953/54 playing for the Commonwealth side at the Brabourne. He was so utterly loose-limbed and graceful in every thing he did that I enjoyed watching him. Particularly the late cut in which the face of the bat faced downwards. Or so it seemed to me Vinoo Mankad also playing in the same match also played this shot in the same way. The '59 team was a great one led by Gerry Alexander and had some of the greatest players including Sobers, Kanhai and Collie Smith who,the world never got to see because he died in a car accident soon after 59. They expected him to be another Sobers.Then there was a tearaway called Roy Gilchrist. People will realise what an angry man he was if they know that he stabbed a batsman after a game in the Lancashire league. The batsman had needled him. Then there were Hall as well who was the anti-thesis of a fast bowler.This was almost the same team

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | November 1, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    that played in the Tied test in Brisbane in 61. Then I saw the team led by Gary Sobers in 67 at the Chepauk. They had a tall spin bowler who would become one of the greatest spin bowlers in the world. Lance Gibbs. In 74 under Clive Lloyd,Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge made their debuts in the first Test at Banglaore and smashed India in that Test and the next one at Delhi. ThenTiger Pataudi was recalled and he led India to victory in the next two Tests at Calcutta and Madras. Then India lost the final game in Bombay and a great series had happened. The next one I saw was in 83. That was when I saw Holding, Marshall and others. They were truly frightening. but Gavaskar equalled Bradman's 29 centuries in Chepauk. That was when West Indies were riding rough shod over everyone like a collosus.To me they looked supe-rnatural athletes and people did not think it was a shame to lose to them. India was not at the top of the rankings then as they are now.So it did not hurt when we lost.

  • POSTED BY Agnihothra on | November 1, 2011, 7:49 GMT

    Still have a vivid memory of that afternoon in Kanpur . WI scored 454 on a "placid" track and the Macko (4 wkts) and company reduced INDIA to 34 for 5 at the end of day 2. Doordarshan started telecasting the country-wide by them and the commentators were wondering about the bounce Marshall was able to extract from these supposedly placid track. Didn't understand too many nuances of the game then(was 11) but that memory always stayed with me.

  • POSTED BY UglyIndian on | November 1, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    Sheer nostalgia!! My dad still swears by Malcolm Marshall and vividly remembers the Delhi Test match. It's a shame and indeed a sham that the WICB is running. A WI team with Gayle, Fidel Edwards, Rampaul, Roach and Bishoo can still give the strongest of Indian teams a run for their money in both tests and ODI's (even in India)

  • POSTED BY santoshjohnsamuel on | November 1, 2011, 7:18 GMT

    @here2rock: absolutely true, not just the Indians but many fans across the world. Support does not quite convey the idea -- it was acknowledgement that the West Indians were pure magic on the field, and that there was no shame at all in losing to them. Most fans were thrilled beyond dreams if our side put up a decent fight and won a few sessions in a Test match. Mind you, this 'support' was extended only to the WI, and not to any other side. p.s. You could verify it from anyone in the 35 above age group, or (if it's possible) players from that era.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 7:15 GMT

    Have to agree, the WI teams of 70s and 80s, and AUS teams of 90s to mid 2000s had that indescribable x-factor - call it "aura", "bounce-back-ability", or "swagger". They just always found a man for the hour, refused to believe they could lose, had a side chock-full of greats (or those who'd go on to become one), not a single player who was mediocre really. Even the bench players could rival the best guns of other international teams. Yes, it's all over now and it's all nostalgia - but without a bit of respect for history, you can never appreciate when it gets created!

  • POSTED BY TheKnowledge on | November 1, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    " WI have rightly been getting their just desserts over the last 15 years....."

    not a hint of bitterness here at all.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 6:43 GMT

    being a cricket fan, i would love to see west indies giving hard times with their genuine skills like they used to be.

  • POSTED BY tappee74 on | November 1, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    What a beautiful article,it reminds me of those years which seem like yesterday.I am a west Indian and more so a Guyanese who have not seen much in those days,but i have listened to virtually every game starting from the late sixties.West Indies in the the early sixties to the begining of the seventies were at an average.Gavaskar came to the WI looking like a school boy,and until today the older generation remembers him.Uton Dowe a fast bowler then, was astonished to see a young man whipping him with disdain.Sardesi,Vishwanauth,Sardesi ,Abid Ali and company made quite an impression in the West Indies,but the real class of an unconquerable West Indies side came in the mid seventies under the captaincy of one of cricket's most sucessful captain C H LLoyd.They were majestic.The had the finest set of fast bowlers of any time,and an array of batting class.Those days are far gone,i hope glory will one day reflect on a team that is now struggling for recognition.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    beautiful beautiful beautiful!!

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    Can we please just please focus on the current West Indies side? Thank you. Everytime they talk about a great team 25 years ago, im sorry to break it to yall, its over. Just talk about this side and what it needs to do to improve. No wonder West Indians have no confidence with themselves because they have this legacy constantly thrown in their face as a benchmark, which is unfair.

  • POSTED BY santoshjohnsamuel on | November 1, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    Thank you Dileep for the memories. 'That' WI must have been the one team (with Brazil) whom everybody wanted to win, there was no shame in losing to the WI. Many of us were unhappier about the WI loss in 1983 than we were happy about the Ind win, but that's how it was! And it was not just about Ind fans -- no matter where they went, the WI found 'home' support. Minus the colour of the skin of the fans, and the unique atmosphere of the WI stadiums, it was as if the WI were at home everywhere. That they were supremely skillful athletes was beyond doubt, it was the pride and manner in which they played that brought joy. The smiles, laughter, the high-fives, Viv's walk to the crease, Ambrose's celebrations, everything was, and looked, natural. And anybody who did well (or fought well) had our deepest respect. Think Amarnath, Gavaskar, Lamb, Gooch, et al. It's been a frustrating 20 years hoping for a revival and trying to explain to a new generation of fans what the game is truly missing.

  • POSTED BY SunAndSea on | November 1, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    Lovely article Dileep. During the years South Africa was in isolation, I supported the West Indies, and they are my second team now. There have been great teams since Lloyd's Windies, but none have come remotely close to matching the spirit and majesty of which you rightly speak.

  • POSTED BY vatsap on | November 1, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    Romanticizing, the West Indian cricket is a norm. They were great cricketers, very talented, lot of fun and energy on the field, hated to lose and won a lot and were loved across the world. But what most tend to forget is, that at times it was one dimensional with bouncer barrage, very sore losers (NZ 1980, @home vs India in 1976, Hirwani test 1988) to name just a few. Talking of sporting spirits, they indulged in Time delay (Dessie Haynes) and Viv Richards was never the one to take a bad decision. (near riots during India's tour in 1989, due to Richards displeasure).

    Like all great teams, once they reached the top, they hated to lose and took to different gamesmanship. In another 10 years, we will be applauding the Australian team lead by Waugh and Ponting :-) for their sportive spirit.

  • POSTED BY here2rock on | November 1, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    I don't know how much truth is this article. Nobody loves seeing their side getting smashed. Indian crowds are never known for supporting the opposition.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    Wafting in nostalgia always gives a good feeling, isn't it?!! Enjoyed reading the article. Even enjoyed watching "Fire in Babylon". Those references about how Bishan Singh Bedi cowered out of the bouncer barrage was particularly eye-opening. The Windies had been mauled by Aussies in 1975-76 by Lillee and Thommo, and then they decided to give it back to the world. Indians received it first and they were not brave enough to digest it. Reflected on their captain of that time - Bishen Singh Bedi!

  • POSTED BY nskaile on | November 1, 2011, 5:00 GMT

    everyone in the world wants to see WI playing same kind of cricket again xpt WICB and WI ppl who just lost their interest and faith in Wi cricket. It just really sad.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    "Narendra Hirwani ambushed them on an underprepared Chepauk pitch, and West Indian anger was given full expression in the one-day games that remained." Seriously, what's there to be angry about? And that too after losing ONE match? Would WI make spinning pitches at home for other teams? And if Indian pitches were "under-prepared", WI pitches weren't exactly the best for cricket either. Add to this an irrational overuse of bouncers and some extreme arrogance, and the bouncer rule had to happen. Sorry, but I don't miss the utterly condescending manner in which WI treated everyone else. For all their greatness, they could be poor sports when things didn't go their way. There's a difference in being proud of one's heritage and deeds, and being utterly demeaning to others. WI have rightly been getting their just desserts over the last 15 years.....

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    AWESOME ARTICLE.SOME MORE INTERESTING FACTS CAME IN KNOWLEDGE. THE CARIBBEANS DOMINATED TILL LATE 80,S.THEY COME,S AS A STORM ON A TOUR AND GOES LIKE A WIND PARALYZING THEIR ENEMY.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 4:16 GMT

    A beautiful article by Dileep P. I was at Peradeniya Telecom Training school when WI-India tour 1983-84 just after 1983 world cup. what a fascinating series? it was. G.Greenigd's 194, Marshall 88 and wickets, wickets and wickets of marshal and co. Great Gavasker's 236 n.o at Chennai what series??????. Jamal-Sri Lanka.

  • POSTED BY Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on | November 1, 2011, 3:38 GMT

    i get goosebumps whenever i think about those great teams. sigh! thanks for this piece dileep.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 3:09 GMT

    DJ and Terry have a read my brothers.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 3:09 GMT

    DJ and Terry have a read my brothers.

  • POSTED BY Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on | November 1, 2011, 3:38 GMT

    i get goosebumps whenever i think about those great teams. sigh! thanks for this piece dileep.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 4:16 GMT

    A beautiful article by Dileep P. I was at Peradeniya Telecom Training school when WI-India tour 1983-84 just after 1983 world cup. what a fascinating series? it was. G.Greenigd's 194, Marshall 88 and wickets, wickets and wickets of marshal and co. Great Gavasker's 236 n.o at Chennai what series??????. Jamal-Sri Lanka.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    AWESOME ARTICLE.SOME MORE INTERESTING FACTS CAME IN KNOWLEDGE. THE CARIBBEANS DOMINATED TILL LATE 80,S.THEY COME,S AS A STORM ON A TOUR AND GOES LIKE A WIND PARALYZING THEIR ENEMY.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    "Narendra Hirwani ambushed them on an underprepared Chepauk pitch, and West Indian anger was given full expression in the one-day games that remained." Seriously, what's there to be angry about? And that too after losing ONE match? Would WI make spinning pitches at home for other teams? And if Indian pitches were "under-prepared", WI pitches weren't exactly the best for cricket either. Add to this an irrational overuse of bouncers and some extreme arrogance, and the bouncer rule had to happen. Sorry, but I don't miss the utterly condescending manner in which WI treated everyone else. For all their greatness, they could be poor sports when things didn't go their way. There's a difference in being proud of one's heritage and deeds, and being utterly demeaning to others. WI have rightly been getting their just desserts over the last 15 years.....

  • POSTED BY nskaile on | November 1, 2011, 5:00 GMT

    everyone in the world wants to see WI playing same kind of cricket again xpt WICB and WI ppl who just lost their interest and faith in Wi cricket. It just really sad.

  • POSTED BY on | November 1, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    Wafting in nostalgia always gives a good feeling, isn't it?!! Enjoyed reading the article. Even enjoyed watching "Fire in Babylon". Those references about how Bishan Singh Bedi cowered out of the bouncer barrage was particularly eye-opening. The Windies had been mauled by Aussies in 1975-76 by Lillee and Thommo, and then they decided to give it back to the world. Indians received it first and they were not brave enough to digest it. Reflected on their captain of that time - Bishen Singh Bedi!

  • POSTED BY here2rock on | November 1, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    I don't know how much truth is this article. Nobody loves seeing their side getting smashed. Indian crowds are never known for supporting the opposition.

  • POSTED BY vatsap on | November 1, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    Romanticizing, the West Indian cricket is a norm. They were great cricketers, very talented, lot of fun and energy on the field, hated to lose and won a lot and were loved across the world. But what most tend to forget is, that at times it was one dimensional with bouncer barrage, very sore losers (NZ 1980, @home vs India in 1976, Hirwani test 1988) to name just a few. Talking of sporting spirits, they indulged in Time delay (Dessie Haynes) and Viv Richards was never the one to take a bad decision. (near riots during India's tour in 1989, due to Richards displeasure).

    Like all great teams, once they reached the top, they hated to lose and took to different gamesmanship. In another 10 years, we will be applauding the Australian team lead by Waugh and Ponting :-) for their sportive spirit.

  • POSTED BY SunAndSea on | November 1, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    Lovely article Dileep. During the years South Africa was in isolation, I supported the West Indies, and they are my second team now. There have been great teams since Lloyd's Windies, but none have come remotely close to matching the spirit and majesty of which you rightly speak.