EDITORIAL: Kudos to WI cricket teams


TODAY The Barbados Advocate salutes the performances of both West Indies cricket teams for emerging victorious in the two T20 competitions, which concluded in India yesterday.
The women whipped Australia in convincing fashion to lift the winning trophy for the first time. That victory is all the more clinical when it is recognised that the Australian women were going after their third consecutive championship.
As for the men, the win was just as awesome, although their victory margin was by four wickets in what turned out for the most part to be a real contest. That the Caribbean side, and here we refer to the men, has lots to be proud about is significant, judging where they have come from. 
Commentators have said quite often that one of the reasons for the dominance of the West Indies team between the 1980s and 1995 was the exposure of regional cricketers in the English County Championship. Year after year, many Caribbean cricketers journeyed to England to honour their contracts with County teams that effectively provided them with the exposure to become the best team in the world. That worked well as the Caribbean side was able to brush aside all the others – Australia, England, India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
However, once those contracts came to an end and with ageing players, West Indies’ dominance of world cricket came to an end as well. It should also be noted the campaigns in England to restrict the number of overseas players in the English County Championship. The protagonists were suggesting that the high number of foreign players was having a negative impact on cricket in England.
That a new group of regional cricketers has come to the fore and dominated the recent T20 competition in India, is again a significant development since the exposure has again worked.  Many of those who made up the current team have been playing in similar T20 competitions in India, South Africa, Australia and England, and right here in the Caribbean. That exposure has shown that once West Indians are given that opportunity to perform in those countries, it would redound to their efforts and allow them to outdo their counterparts from the other countries.
They have showed this in the just ended competition in India. On their road to the final, the West Indies swept aside England during a dramatic run chase similar to their win against India in the semi-finals.
The ease with which they also defeated Sri Lanka and South Africa showed the depth of both the batting and the bowling as was again demonstrated yesterday against England. The Caribbean team’s only setback was when they stumbled against the lowly rated Afghanistan. By then their place in one of the semi-finals had been assured.
This is a significant moment for West Indies cricket. Beaten, battered and bruised for many years, the West Indies (men) now have something to show that they are still a force to be reckoned with in world cricket. That the women have also triumphed is double delight for the game in the region and will give cricket fans in the Caribbean much to rejoice about.  
Again, well done and congratulations are in order for both teams.

Barbados Advocate

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