Hello and welcome once again to DRS, my very own personal space where we talk matters cricketing on Cricketnext.com. The World Twenty20 is over and I would like to believe that the right team won.
Certainly the team that most of us were rooting for once India was out of the tournament. And I hate to say this, but maybe for once I got my predictions right. A few weeks ago on this very DRS space I said West Indies is one team that I'd like to see lift the World Twenty20. One may not always get their political predictions right but it appears when it comes to cricket one has a slightly better chance.
Certainly, the Windies were extremely popular winners of this World Twenty20. And I think world cricket needed West Indies to win a big title after all these years of drought and despair. There is something about the Caribbeans that lifts the spirit. They play the game with joie de vivre which is all too absent in today's cricket. Forget about them actually winning the game, look at what they did after they won the title. The celebrations, the Gangnam dance, Chris Gayle doing push-ups, the dancing. The fact is it was a celebration of cricket, which is often what T20 is all about. This is what draws in the crowds.
The one reason that West Indies won the World Twenty20 was because they were a team with full of individuals who had flair and had that X-factor. Not just Chris Gayle, but as Marlon Samuels showed in the final, as Dwayne Bravo showed during the tournament, as Sunil Narine showed throughout the tournament and as Ravi Rampaul showed with that ball in the final. They have individuals who can turn matches on their heads and that's exactly what Twenty20 cricket is about. You need five or six overs which can dramatically transform a game. The West Indies brought all that talent in batting, bowling and fielding and reminded us of the days of past glory.
Let me, though, add a caveat: if we expect this victory in the World Twenty20 to transform West Indies cricket, that they are once again going to be world beaters, then I think we have got to press the pause button. Twenty20 cricket is very different from 50-over cricket and Test cricket. That is where you need your skills to be displayed over longer periods of time. It can't just be done over four or five overs. Which is why West Indies must see this victory only as a stepping stone towards further success. This is not the summit.
If West Indies cricket is to believe that they have finally arrived after all those years of suffering, then I think the celebrations are a bit premature. Do not compare this side to the great sides of the 70's and 80's. Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, the four fast bowlers, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes … these were cricketers really from a different planet. They won't come again, certainly not a constellation coming together at the same time. So let's not pitch our expectations too high for West Indies.
For now let's celebrate the fact that calypso cricket has been revived in a sense by Twenty20 cricket. The fact is that just watching the smiling faces of all those West Indian fans was enough to make you feel that you are also a bit of a West Indian. My late father used to say the one place that he always enjoyed playing cricket in was in the West Indies, quite simply because the fans had a passion for the game that cut across all barriers. That passion was seen on display in that final against Sri Lanka. That passion is something that all of us cricket fans will want to see a little bit more of. We want to see Chris Gayle do the Gangnam when West Indies win a major Test series or 50-over title. No one can do the post match celebrations as well as West Indies.