How did the West Indies develop such a dominant team?

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Adelaide Hawk

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The great Clive LLoyd and World Series Cricket.Prior to WSC as Derek Murray said in an interview. The Windies provided the entertainment and the other sides won.

To take it further, prior to WSC, the West Indians were pretty loose. They toured as a team, but pretty much did their own thing. What WSC introduced to the West Indies was discipline. Kerry Packer demanded performance, so he appointed Dr Rudi Webster to manage the team, using hypnotherapy to get the players to believe in themselves. Then he appointed Dennis Waight as their fitness instructor, ensuring they attained unprecedented fitness levels and organised schedules to keep the pace men fit and fresh. It was the first time West Indian cricketers trained in track suits :) Waight remained in that role for many years.
 

Carl Hooper

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Ewing retired 15 years ago, just like Curtly Ambrose...


Talented athletes get fully paid scholarships to US schools. It's never about whether you can afford to go to school, it's about whether you (and your family) can resist the pro dollars while you learn the game and get an education.
yeah i know you dont have to pay for your schooling but youll need money to fund decent competitions to get the attention so theyll even bother scouting out there.. hard to create a buzz as a foreigner unless you can actually afford to go to the U.S as a high schooler and play against the best kids.

U.S schools wouldn't be keeping an eye on school kids in Antigua when they'e got hundreds of kids in U.S schools to pick from.
 

Gough

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yeah i know you dont have to pay for your schooling but youll need money to fund decent competitions to get the attention so theyll even bother scouting out there.. hard to create a buzz as a foreigner unless you can actually afford to go to the U.S as a high schooler and play against the best kids.

U.S schools wouldn't be keeping an eye on school kids in Antigua when they'e got hundreds of kids in U.S schools to pick from.
I'd argue things like athletics or football have made as much of a dent in Caribbean cricket stocks as much as any US sporting influence. The Reggae Boys qualified for the 98 World Cup which coincided with the decline of the West Indian cricket team and Caribbean islands have been represented in World Cups pretty much ever since. And I can't imagine for a minute the influence of Usain Bolt hasn't had an effect on the numbers of kids taking up cricket.
 

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Scotland

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For a number of reasons they found themselves like the Socceroos of the 90s and early 2000s where a number players didn't really want to play for the national side. You can throw money and resources at improving the sport at grassroots and FC levels but you can't make people want to play FC and/or representative cricket. Playing a test for Australia is still a prestigious honour, I'm not sure how prestigious it is in the Windies or how to rebuild that prestige.

Last test: Dwayne Bravo 2010, Chris Gayle 2014, Darren Sammy 2013, Lendl Simmons 2011, Carlos Brathwaite 2016, Sunil Narine 2013. They still produce talented cricketers but most of them would rather just play T20/ODI cricket because they can make a living out of it. Guys like AJ Tye & Dirk Nannes became short form specialists here because when you're 30 and have played a handful of FC matches you aren't going to get a baggy green, so you need to make a living while you can. We're lucky that CA makes enough money overall to centrally contract players on good money so we don't have Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc etc. giving up on FC cricket in their mid 20s to play the T20 circuit. Being a FC cricketer isn't a lucrative deal here, so would be equivalent to doing a paper round in the Caribbean.
 

Hellgood

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For a number of reasons they found themselves like the Socceroos of the 90s and early 2000s where a number players didn't really want to play for the national side. You can throw money and resources at improving the sport at grassroots and FC levels but you can't make people want to play FC and/or representative cricket. Playing a test for Australia is still a prestigious honour, I'm not sure how prestigious it is in the Windies or how to rebuild that prestige.

Last test: Dwayne Bravo 2010, Chris Gayle 2014, Darren Sammy 2013, Lendl Simmons 2011, Carlos Brathwaite 2016, Sunil Narine 2013. They still produce talented cricketers but most of them would rather just play T20/ODI cricket because they can make a living out of it. Guys like AJ Tye & Dirk Nannes became short form specialists here because when you're 30 and have played a handful of FC matches you aren't going to get a baggy green, so you need to make a living while you can. We're lucky that CA makes enough money overall to centrally contract players on good money so we don't have Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc etc. giving up on FC cricket in their mid 20s to play the T20 circuit. Being a FC cricketer isn't a lucrative deal here, so would be equivalent to doing a paper round in the Caribbean.

With the players you have mentioned, it is not at all about not wanting to represent the West Indies in test cricket - Pollard and Gayle have expressly specified the opposite with Pollard in particular making some bitter comments about never being given a chance in test cricket. With the case of Narine, I think it was a bit of the Ajantha Mendis situation where his bowling became ineffective in matches where batsmen didn't have to go after him and could be replaced by a more suitable prospect in Bishoo. Sammy just got sick of the captaincy and putting up with the bullshit from the WICB.

If the WICB was a competent organisation, the players would be keen to represent and whilst there would still be the odd availability clash, I daresay they would be a lot better at working schedules flexibly around to ensure the best team was turning out in the maroon caps.
 

Scotland

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http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/404214.html

Speaking on the eve of the Chester-le-Street Test, Gayle claimed he had been misquoted in the interview, but reiterated his personal stance on the longer form of the game. "Test cricket is always going to be there, but they were my views on Test cricket as an individual," he told reporters at the Riverside. "I don't see myself playing Tests for any long period of time. I think Test cricket will always be there.

"Twenty20 has come onboard and it's made a huge impact on the world, it's brilliant, games have been sold out and it has taken the place by storm. I look at Test cricket differently, I don't see it as long term for me, just for me, I'm just speaking about myself."

The lack of interest in test/rep cricket stems in large part from dissatisfaction with the WICB and the commercial realities of playing FC cricket. Someone like Ed Cowan will play 30 or 40 days of Shield cricket this season plus training etc. and I'd be surprised if he made 6 figures. His equivalent in the Windies would make next to nothing.
 

footyfan1978

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All the stars aligned. I think the personality and leadership of Clive Lloyd is a big part of it. Without him, hard to see how the side would gel together because as it is a team of players from different island nations the players do not automatically bond as easily as a bunch of Aussies from same nation do. That is always hard to even imagine for us. A different captain may never have got them feeling as a team like they did then under Lloyd. He had charisma and respect. For last two and bit decades really been a team of individuals watching from afar. Obviously some have a lot of pride in West Indies cricket but for mine, many of them do not care enough about it as a group to ever gel long enough.

As others have alluded to, the timing of mid to late 70's and early 80's probably meant little kids and teenage athletes from these nations were not as saturated with attraction of American sporing culture dream only a small distance away so the natural attraction to their own deeper cricket loving culture was entrenched at the time. Maybe that was eroded after the era of the Lloyd's, Richards, Holding and Roberts was over and was already dying out by 1990 and barely breathing when the next generations of Richardson, Lara, Walsh and Ambrose were going through their careers post Viv Richards retiring. I imagine lots of potential talented kids at sport that might have gone for cricket a generation earlier were now seduced by scholarships to American College sporting world ? Hard to know from this far away but get the sense that went on a bit.

There just has been no sense of leadership from their players or admin since the 1990's started. They held on for a couple more years before dethroned and then been decades of individuals since. Hooper, Lara and now Gayle all seem stars as individual cricketers but that seems all that is left for West Indies cricketers. The politics of their admin from different islands has seemed to have no harmony and on field rarely looked a team since early 90's. We are now about a quarter of a decade later since Viv Richards and Greenidge seemed the last of the greats from the Clive Lloyd lead era.

I also feel that pure cycle that bunch of very fast and talented bowlers happened at similar time.
To me that is no different to we having an abundance of talented bats in late 90's and early 2000's and we barely got 2 or 3 decent batsmen now.

Just seems harder now for all the factors to be aligned for West Indies to have an era like it again.
One can only hope I am wrong as cricket world was more exciting with them as a power of cricket world.

Seems so much duller now where the void has to be filled by lesser powers such as India and England as nations we hope to have exciting series against and push our own standards higher. There was a Mount Everest to climb to be best in world when West Indies were a real power. Now it feels like to be number 1 in world you only need to climb the Mount Dandenongs. Laughable we cannot even do that right now ourselves.
 
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Scotland

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Have the Caribbean grounds played a role?

I didn't watch a whole lot of cricket in the 80s but I remember watching Walsh and Ambrose coming here and tormenting us on our pitches. Plenty of kids growing up in Perth in the 70s, 80s and 90s wanted to be a fast bowlers after watching cricket at the WACA.

Granted the Windies are nowhere near as strong but when we tour there now I don't think 'gee Haze/Starc/Cummins/whoever are going to have a field day on their decks'. Their pitches seem pretty low and flat and more suited to batting then spin bowling when they dry out.
 

footyfan1978

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Have the Caribbean grounds played a role?

I didn't watch a whole lot of cricket in the 80s but I remember watching Walsh and Ambrose coming here and tormenting us on our pitches.
We only played the West Indies over there once during whole 1980's decade so none of us really saw their grounds apart from one minutes of highlight on news.
Steve Smith was over there then.

Joel Garner destroyed us with Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding.
4th bowler was usually spinner Harper or 4th paceman like Wayne Daniel or Winston Davis type.

None of it was on tv then, remember waking up in middle of night and putting radio on to hear scores.
Was absolute nightmare. Only Allan Border did any good and Kim Hughes as captain was worn out. Border virtually the only player to average over 25 runs for the series for us whilst all their batsmen and keeper averaged 40 to 97 for series.

Joel Garner took 31 wickets in series at about 16 a wicket.
Marshall 21 wickets and Holding 13.
Geoff Lawson took most wickers for us of 13 wickets at over 50 runs a piece.

Was not until 1991 we toured West Indies again. By that time they were well on the decline with Viv Richards and Greenidge close to 40 years of age.


1995 we toured when channel 10 covered it and we finally beat them on their own decks.
 

Gough

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I seem to remember television coverage of the Calypso Capers tour in 1991.
 

footyfan1978

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I seem to remember television coverage of the Calypso Capers tour in 1991.
Yep, was on channel 9.

1995 tour on channel 10.

Have a feeling the only tours of West Indies we seen live on free to air tv.
 

Gough

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I loved getting up early to watch the nineties WI tours.

There was something magic about the cricket, the crowds, the cauldron that was playing on those grounds.
1995 in the West Indies was one of those series that comes around every so often like the 89 or 05 Ashes that captivated an entire country whether people followed cricket or not.
 

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kickazz

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As for why they were dominant? I think it was just their time, but agree Clive Lloyd was a great Captain.

I do wonder if we talk then up a bit too. I mean they were bloody good, but so we're the Aussies a decade and a bit ago.

The desire for a strong WI leads to a bit of pining for the old days. It's a part of the world that honestly we don't have a lot of cultural connection to, aside from cricket, and I think we fear losing that.
 

kickazz

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1995 in the West Indies was one of those series that comes around every so often like the 89 or 05 Ashes that captivated an entire country whether people followed cricket or not.

When Tubs took that winning catch in 1995 I remember jumping the back fence and running around a paddock screaming "you fu**en beauty" waking up the neighbours.

It really was that important!
 

SleazySimon

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As for why they were dominant? I think it was just their time, but agree Clive Lloyd was a great Captain.

I do wonder if we talk then up a bit too. I mean they were bloody good, but so we're the Aussies a decade and a bit ago.

The desire for a strong WI leads to a bit of pining for the old days. It's a part of the world that honestly we don't have a lot of cultural connection to, aside from cricket, and I think we fear losing that.
They were better imo - 15 years without losing a test series - including winning on the sub continent which I dont think Australia ever did?
 

Damon_3388

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Granted the Windies are nowhere near as strong but when we tour there now I don't think 'gee Haze/Starc/Cummins/whoever are going to have a field day on their decks'. Their pitches seem pretty low and flat and more suited to batting then spin bowling when they dry out.

For what it's worth, their domestic cricket has been dominated by spin bowlers over the past 5-10 years. It's a struggle to find many batsmen who have a FC average over 37-38 too.
 

Costanza_

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Kerry Packer demanded performance, so he appointed Dr Rudi Webster to manage the team, using hypnotherapy to get the players to believe in themselves.

latest
 

Steven Gerrard

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I think the WIs were just blessed to have so many great players playing for them all at the one time. Clive Lloyd, Vic Richards, Marshall, Holding, Garner, Dujon, then a bit later Ambrose and Lara...just blessed. I watch a cricket doco the other day which suggests once Australia set up the cricket academy, it paved the way which eventually saw them overtake the WIs...and Warne also had a lot to do with their end as well, in 1995.
 
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He retired 15 years ago too, and moved to the US at age 12 in 1975.

I'm talking recently, when this supposed leeching of potential cricket talent to other sports has happened.
Why do you need a string of NBA names?

Basketball has negatively affected cricket participation in Australia - especially in country areas - and we have barely a handful make the NBA
 
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The West Indies are proof that you do not need a big population to have a good cricket team. Iceland have proven likewise in soccer of late.

I don't buy the 'basketball killed 'em' explanation. Cricket is still very popular, and if anything is killing interest in cricket, it's how poor their team is. Nothing kills interest more than an insipid performance.

There were a few things that came together all at the same time, most of which have been mentioned here.

1. Experience - their best players were playing a lot of cricket against the best players in the world, both through World Series Cricket, and more importantly through the county championship and to a lesser extent the Sheffield Shield. Nothing beats experience in improving players.
2. Quality structures - experienced players weren't just playing overseas, they were also coming back home to their countries and clubs. This meant that the Shell Championship, as their first class competition was known for many years, was of a high standard, which meant that the players coming through would be gaining that same experience of quality.
3. Professionalism - see Adelaide Hawk's post at the top of this page.
4. Unity - the West Indies do not naturally have the unity that other countries do, in that they are not actually one country. In fact, the countries they come from are normally rivals rather than allies. In order to unite them, they needed an enemy greater than each other, and they found one in 'the rest of the world'. This team was absolutely determined to prove to the world that they were the best. And they did.
 

PhatBoy

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I think the WIs were just blessed to have so many great players playing for them all at the one time. Clive Lloyd, Vic Richards, Marshall, Holding, Garner, Dujon, then a bit later Ambrose and Lara...just blessed. I watch a cricket doco the other day which suggests once Australia set up the cricket academy, it paved the way which eventually saw them overtake the WIs...and Warne also had a lot to do with their end as well, in 1995.

Warne has played a part but not really directly as such. He only averaged 27 in 95. He bowled we’ll enough but not ‘Warne well’ if you get my meaning. Owed a lot more to the Waughs, and McGrath took 17 at 21 and owned their top order from memory. Richardson was their only batsman to crack a tonne.

I firmly believe to this day that Lara’s little downturn was, from an opposition perspective at least, the main reason for the loss. Australia clearly would have gone past them anyway but they may have retained the trophy until 96-97 if Lara fires.
 

PhatBoy

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The West Indies are proof that you do not need a big population to have a good cricket team. Iceland have proven likewise in soccer of late.

I don't buy the 'basketball killed 'em' explanation. Cricket is still very popular, and if anything is killing interest in cricket, it's how poor their team is. Nothing kills interest more than an insipid performance.

There were a few things that came together all at the same time, most of which have been mentioned here.

1. Experience - their best players were playing a lot of cricket against the best players in the world, both through World Series Cricket, and more importantly through the county championship and to a lesser extent the Sheffield Shield. Nothing beats experience in improving players.
2. Quality structures - experienced players weren't just playing overseas, they were also coming back home to their countries and clubs. This meant that the Shell Championship, as their first class competition was known for many years, was of a high standard, which meant that the players coming through would be gaining that same experience of quality.
3. Professionalism - see Adelaide Hawk's post at the top of this page.
4. Unity - the West Indies do not naturally have the unity that other countries do, in that they are not actually one country. In fact, the countries they come from are normally rivals rather than allies. In order to unite them, they needed an enemy greater than each other, and they found one in 'the rest of the world'. This team was absolutely determined to prove to the world that they were the best. And they did.


All fair points.

The bottom line is this.

The under 19 World Cup and the T20 world cups prove that this side has, at its core, as much - if not more - natural talent as any cricket nation on the planet. So that’s not an issue. Clearly, development is. At the bottom of all the politics, sh*t infrastructure, poor pitches, poor first class organisation, sh*t board etc, that’s the essence of it. Poor development. Fix that, fix West Indies cricket. It’s that simple. The icc could do it in a heartbeat.
 

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