Reigniting an old flame

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West Indies skipper Darren Sammy summed it up the best. The glory days weren’t quite back as yet, he said in a hoarse voice, barely audible in the din around him. The celebrations were understandable since West Indies had won a world cup after a gap of 33 years. Caribbean cricket was finally blooming after years of gloom. From Jamaica to Guyana, the scenes would have been equally raucous. But despite matching his mates in the Calypso versions of the Gangnam, the West Indies skipper wasn’t getting carried away. He described his team’s monumental achievement as nothing more than “a step in the right direction”.

There have, after all, been false dawns before. Like in 2004, when the West Indies lifted the ICC Champions Trophy, led by two unlikely heroes in Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw, in dramatic circumstances. The revelry was equally boisterous then. The optimism regarding a renaissance was equally high. What followed, though, were payment disputes, ego battles between players and the board, and another abject period of substandard performances. West Indies didn’t win a Test series for five years — winning only three Tests out of 35 — and hardly made an impact in the one-day arena either. A couple of famous Test wins — against South Africa in Port Elizabeth and England at Sabina Park — also proved to be flashes in the pan.

World cricket has always sought an in-form West Indies team. As they proved in Colombo, their success manages to lift the mood of the entire fraternity. They have always been popular champions. Unlike the Australians during the last two decades, the invincible West Indian sides of the 1970s and ’80s were not quite seen as the Enemy No.1 by the world. Here’s hoping that Sammy & Co ensure that this is the beginning of another great era and not the culmination of an erratic ascent.

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