How did the West Indies develop such a dominant team?

Remove this Banner Ad

WireHawk

Team Captain
Aug 16, 2009
423
1,293
Glenferrie Oval
AFL Club
Hawthorn
It is easy to forget what a great player Greenidge was - genuinely brutal when going. I have a uk mate who played at Hampshire who reckons watching Barry Richards & Greenidge was the best opening combination of all time.

I watched Greenidge batting for Hampshire on TV when I lived in London. The game was played in a rural setting, I can't remember who the other team was, and Greenidge hit ten sixes in his innings. The ball was soaring out into the area behind the ground and I remember being worried for the poor cows grazing in the field.

He was a brutal hitter of the ball. Fantastic to watch.
 

PhatBoy

Hall of Famer
May 5, 2016
30,463
32,782
AFL Club
Geelong
Greenidge was still cranking out big runs right to the end as well. Averaged mid-40s or higher in 6 of his last 9 series
 

JimDocker

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 16, 2007
5,980
3,421
Fremantle
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Doncaster Rovers, Boston Celtics
Haynes was the best hooker and puller I had seen until Ricky Ponting. Always in control of the shot.
 

Log in to remove this ad.

Plugger35

The umpires are always right!
Sep 27, 2008
110,783
128,238
AFL Club
St Kilda
Other Teams
Chelsea, Black Caps, Subiaco
Not many mentions of Larry Gomes, he was an underrated West Indian batsman from that era, he was like a West Indian Border with a touch more class.

Like Viv Richards he never bothered wearing a helmet and even if he copped one to the melon he just kept on going.



One of the things that made that West Indies team so dominant was having a solid middle order of Gomes and Dujon that could bail them out if their powerful top order failed or help pile on the runs if they fired.
 

the_interloper

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 1, 2006
18,996
18,494
Melbourne
AFL Club
Richmond
That was my first summer as a SACA member and I remember Deano getting 200 hundred and Merv seventy odd which was crowned by him dispatching Courtney Walsh over the Vic's last ball before tea. The place exploded.

I hung sh*t on Deano on that recently, he was talking about it on Twitter and I reminded him of Merv's 70 and how he got him to the 200. Was hoping he'd crack the sads but he took it well!
 

Damon_3388

Premium Platinum
Jun 23, 2008
33,485
27,181
Headed for Kirribilli House
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Norwood, Everton, Detroit Red Wings
What's the deal with Archer?

The kid is a serious talent but is trying to qualify for England. According to his CricInfo biography he was essentially poached from the nets in Barbados. IMHO, that's a pretty sad statement about West Indian cricket. Archer could be playing Test cricket for the West Indies right now, but would rather wait until 2022 and play for England.

It's probably like any migrant really - Has the opportunity for a better quality of life away from his homeland, hence the move.
 

Sea fog

Premiership Player
Jun 24, 2012
4,741
2,783
Melbourne
AFL Club
Collingwood
Clive Lloyd has always said that the thrashing at the hands of G Chappell's 1975-76 team taught them that they had to knuckle down and be ruthless. It just so happened that at that time they had Viv Richards at the beginning of his career, Greenidge, Roberts, a very young Holding and an emerging battery of pace bowlers. Lloyd marshalled them superbly. They had a dominant era but the signs in the middle and towards the end of that era were that they were complacent. They thought it would be a never ending production line and became lazy. They had always had freakish players like Sobers, and later Lara, but no country, or group of islands can take talent for granted. Then of course basketball did capture the imagination to a greater extent, but those in the know say that that's an oversimplification as an excuse. Today they favour the shorter forms of the game which bring in the money. BTW the 1975 team started the trend of calling them the calypso kings and they traded on that carefree moniker. But Lloyd helped them develop a hard edge which was later personified in blokes like Ambrose whom most thought was an absolute a-hole.
 

Fudge Nuggets

Senior List
Dec 27, 2019
243
149
AFL Club
Brisbane Lions
People keep claiming basketball is a factor, but can anyone name a West Indian basketball player who is actually worth a sh*t? Buddy Hield? Roy Hibbert? Who else?

Tim Duncan (St. Croix) and Patrick Ewing (Jamaica) were kind of good. Since you have Hibbert on your list who was born in New York then I would also add Ben Gordon and Andrew Wiggins. Not a huge list by any means but those are some big enough names to get attention of the local youths.
 

PhatBoy

Hall of Famer
May 5, 2016
30,463
32,782
AFL Club
Geelong
Tim Duncan (St. Croix) and Patrick Ewing (Jamaica) were kind of good. Since you have Hibbert on your list who was born in New York then I would also add Ben Gordon and Andrew Wiggins. Not a huge list by any means but those are some big enough names to get attention of the local youths.


Ewing was drafted 11 years before their unbeaten streak ended. While he would be known in Jamaica it’s very unlikely his career would have had any impact on the lower interest in cricket over the last quarter century.

Basketball undoubtedly has a presence in the islands but no more than soccer or boxing or sprinting, all of which have produced more than their fair share of decent athletes.

Terrible management and planning and development is running a Winx-like race compared to the other competing factors in the decline
 

revo333

Premiership Player
Jan 7, 2018
4,479
3,782
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Interesting you talk about their training, I remember watching them before the Tests here in the late 80s early 90s, towards the end of their reign, and it was noticeable how much less together they were compared to the Simmo/AB/Alcott/ drilled Australian team. They'd enter the field in dribs and drabs, in different gear, do a few laps and some stretches then head out the back to net. Our lads would come on together, run a couple of laps, do stretches and fielding drills, they just looked more professional. The Windies looked slack.

Sounds a bit similar to the 05 Ashes where Ponting said England had more coaches and looked more organised in training while the Aussies were still using the same old methods.
 

Sea fog

Premiership Player
Jun 24, 2012
4,741
2,783
Melbourne
AFL Club
Collingwood
One other factor which contributed to the demise of the Windies when the rules around bouncers and overrates changed. During the early 80s, most balls in most overs were short but there were no penalties for teams not bowling the day's quota of overs. They even occasionally had 5 quicks with Dujon able to bat in the top 4.
 

Marcel Proust

"Oohh WADA ooga booga" {Jul 11 2013}
Sep 6, 2018
22,519
31,941
#BigBigSound
AFL Club
Richmond
Ewing was drafted 11 years before their unbeaten streak ended. While he would be known in Jamaica it’s very unlikely his career would have had any impact on the lower interest in cricket over the last quarter century.

Basketball undoubtedly has a presence in the islands but no more than soccer or boxing or sprinting, all of which have produced more than their fair share of decent athletes.

Terrible management and planning and development is running a Winx-like race compared to the other competing factors in the decline

Deandre Ayton is a gun too.

Basketball and soccer would make it tough
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

RussellEbertHandball

Flick pass expert
Nov 16, 2004
70,310
108,865
SE Oz
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Other Teams
The Mighty Blacks
One other factor which contributed to the demise of the Windies when the rules around bouncers and overrates changed. During the early 80s, most balls in most overs were short but there were no penalties for teams not bowling the day's quota of overs. They even occasionally had 5 quicks with Dujon able to bat in the top 4.
The restriction to 2 bouncers an over, first 2 to any batsmen, then only 1 per batsmen and then back to 2 to any one, in both Tests and ODI's made the Windies quicks a lot less lethal, but being forced to go from bowling 75-78 overs per day to 90 overs a day is rarely discussed. Those extra overs meant less of a rest between overs as well as more wear and tear on the body. These 2 factors aren't all of the story for the demise of the Windies, but they are a significant part of the reason why.
 

Pippen94

Club Legend
Jun 12, 2019
2,384
848
AFL Club
Sydney
Why doesn't a nation without the resources, money & incentive to be successful have the success our country does?! Go figure
 

RussellEbertHandball

Flick pass expert
Nov 16, 2004
70,310
108,865
SE Oz
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Other Teams
The Mighty Blacks
I grew up with them being the undisputed world champs - they dominated for 20 years - and I've often wondered how a non-unitary collection of islands with such a small population (of Test-playing nations, larger only than New Zealand at a current level of about 6 million) produced such an outstanding team. On their decline, Wiki mentions not moving into the era of professionalism coupled with economic decline, but that doesn't really explain how such a great pool of players came from such a limited population over a sustained period. Does anyone have any better knowledge, or know of any specific books/writers on it?
I am a few years late to this thread, but over the last 5 years we have had two Brazilians join the Port board and they have taken an interest in cricket and have asked questions about the game and its history.

Brazilians play a bat/stick, (soft) ball and wicket game out on the streets called Taco or Taco Bol so they have grasped the game quickly. Its this history of Taco that an ex Kent player Matt Featherston, is using to develop the game in Brazil trying to make cricket a game for Brazilians rather than just a game of expats.

I have sent them the link to Fire in Babylon doco to explain how and why the West Indies became so dominate. The second time was only a few weeks ago. So if you, or others haven't seen the video, here it is in 2 parts.

Its a combination of culture, timing re the island nations becoming independent and searching for leaders and heroes, timing re Packer cricket, timing re professionalism and having a generation of great athletes and the rules allowing fast bowlers to bowl upto 6 bouncers an over.

Clive Lloyd said never again after they were smashed by Australia, on the scoreboard and physically by Lillee and Thomson in 1975-76 and said we have to find at least 4 fast bowlers who could bowl at least 90 miles/hr. They did, as well as find great batsmen who were very athletic and hungry and kept finding them for 20 years.







But Kerry Packer personally had a big part in their change of attitude.


In Part 2 around the 4 minute mark, from the script
Script Fire in Babylon

'The players took to the field in front of only 500 spectators, 'leaving the stadium all but deserted.'

Andy Roberts - Kerry realised that the success of World Series depended heavily on the success of West Indies. There was one game that we played and we got bowled out cheaply. He came into the changing room
and put a tongue-lashing on us.

Colin Croft - "Gentlemen, you are wasting my time. "I could get rid of you immediately. "Qantas 001 leaves here every afternoon "and some of you could be on it. "Unless you pick up your game, "we are going to have to send some of you home."

Michael Holding - Kerry Packer demanded professionalism. He demanded a professional outlook,
on not just your cricket but on life, and we let him down.

Andy Roberts - And everything change from that day.

Gordon Greenidge - Here we have a bunch of guys now who realise that there's no tomorrow,
there's only today, and nobody wanted to give up.

Michael Holding - We then bonded together because that's all we had. We had each other.
That family feeling, that ultimate one-for-all, all-for-one, pervaded.
Kerry Packer assigned Dennis Waight to the West Indies team as our physiotherapist/trainer.
And he went to Clive Lloyd and said, "Skipper, I do not think that this team is fit enough."
And that is when we started to train. Dennis was a fit, strong man.
He would run to the ground from the hotel while we took the bus.

Colin Croft - He pushed us to the limit, I mean, madness. We were fit at all times.
If we weren't fit, we were glad to get fit. '

West indian historian - This team became the fittest Test team the world had seen, coming against a tradition of pot-bellied unfit cricketers. The fitness led to superb displays of catches, incredible endurance,there was a spectacle.

Colin croft - It was highly intense cricket, the hardest cricket I've ever played.
Andy Roberts - Every team had at least five genuine fast bowlers, every team. Every day you wake up,
you know that the cricket is going to be harder than the day before.

Viv Richards - That whole tournament itself had to change your whole psyche
to getting fitter, winner takes all, being in that zone to be as mean as anything else.




Why have they lost their dominance?? $$$ and shear weight of numbers caught up as other nations became more professional in their approach.

Unfortunately complacency by the West Indies Cricket Board, the lack of $$, national jealousies and biases among the Island Nations, no real national academy like Oz introduced in the late 1980's when Oz cricket was struggling, nothing like in India where the owner of Madras Rubber Factory was a cricket nut and employed Dennis Lille to start up a fast bowling academy, college sporting and education scholarships in the USA be it basketball or athletics or soccer, have seen the talent pool become shallower and the shorter T20 game and $$$ available in India, Oz, England and other domestic competitions, has made a weak domestic red ball competition become even weaker as we have seen the West Indian players become great T20 players and have left red ball test and first class cricket as its a poor 2nd or 3rd choice for some of the Windies players.
 

PhatBoy

Hall of Famer
May 5, 2016
30,463
32,782
AFL Club
Geelong
I don’t think over rates had the impact many people think they did.

The windies were still incredibly hard to beat long after 90 over days were mandated and did so sometimes with 3 instead off four fast bowlers. Usually a combination of Walsh, Ambrose, Bishop, the two
Benjamin’s, Patterson until 1993 etc. then that lower end started to diminish and players like Franklin Rose, Reon King, Tino Best, Vasbert Drakes, Ottis Gibson, Merv Dillon etc weren’t up to the mark that their predecessors set
 

revo333

Premiership Player
Jan 7, 2018
4,479
3,782
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
West indian historian - This team became the fittest Test team the world had seen, coming against a tradition of pot-bellied unfit cricketers. The fitness led to superb displays of catches, incredible endurance,there was a spectacle.

A mate saw them train when they were down here around 2000/01 and he told me he thought our local cricket club training sessions were more intense and competitive.

And that's saying something because our training sessions were fairly laid back.
 

PhatBoy

Hall of Famer
May 5, 2016
30,463
32,782
AFL Club
Geelong
A mate saw them train when they were down here around 2000/01 and he told me he thought our local cricket club training sessions were more intense and competitive.

And that's saying something because our training sessions were fairly laid back.


That tour was a low point among low points. That side actually contained some players with talent beyond just Brian Lara and gave next to nothing
 

Sphynx

Premiership Player
Jul 10, 2011
3,299
8,482
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Ewing was drafted 11 years before their unbeaten streak ended. While he would be known in Jamaica it’s very unlikely his career would have had any impact on the lower interest in cricket over the last quarter century.

Basketball undoubtedly has a presence in the islands but no more than soccer or boxing or sprinting, all of which have produced more than their fair share of decent athletes.

Terrible management and planning and development is running a Winx-like race compared to the other competing factors in the decline

I don’t think sprinting belongs with the rest, especially post Bolt.

Athletics is the clear #1 over there atm, especially with the pathways into US Colleges for some.
 

philohk

on holiday by mistake
Jun 18, 2008
1,346
899
Hong Kong
AFL Club
Hawthorn
I am a few years late to this thread, but over the last 5 years we have had two Brazilians join the Port board and they have taken an interest in cricket and have asked questions about the game and its history.

Brazilians play a bat/stick, (soft) ball and wicket game out on the streets called Taco or Taco Bol so they have grasped the game quickly. Its this history of Taco that an ex Kent player Matt Featherston, is using to develop the game in Brazil trying to make cricket a game for Brazilians rather than just a game of expats.

I have sent them the link to Fire in Babylon doco to explain how and why the West Indies became so dominate. The second time was only a few weeks ago. So if you, or others haven't seen the video, here it is in 2 parts.

Its a combination of culture, timing re the island nations becoming independent and searching for leaders and heroes, timing re Packer cricket, timing re professionalism and having a generation of great athletes and the rules allowing fast bowlers to bowl upto 6 bouncers an over.

Clive Lloyd said never again after they were smashed by Australia, on the scoreboard and physically by Lillee and Thomson in 1975-76 and said we have to find at least 4 fast bowlers who could bowl at least 90 miles/hr. They did, as well as find great batsmen who were very athletic and hungry and kept finding them for 20 years.







But Kerry Packer personally had a big part in their change of attitude.


In Part 2 around the 4 minute mark, from the script
Script Fire in Babylon

'The players took to the field in front of only 500 spectators, 'leaving the stadium all but deserted.'

Andy Roberts - Kerry realised that the success of World Series depended heavily on the success of West Indies. There was one game that we played and we got bowled out cheaply. He came into the changing room
and put a tongue-lashing on us.

Colin Croft - "Gentlemen, you are wasting my time. "I could get rid of you immediately. "Qantas 001 leaves here every afternoon "and some of you could be on it. "Unless you pick up your game, "we are going to have to send some of you home."

Michael Holding - Kerry Packer demanded professionalism. He demanded a professional outlook,
on not just your cricket but on life, and we let him down.

Andy Roberts - And everything change from that day.

Gordon Greenidge - Here we have a bunch of guys now who realise that there's no tomorrow,
there's only today, and nobody wanted to give up.

Michael Holding - We then bonded together because that's all we had. We had each other.
That family feeling, that ultimate one-for-all, all-for-one, pervaded.
Kerry Packer assigned Dennis Waight to the West Indies team as our physiotherapist/trainer.
And he went to Clive Lloyd and said, "Skipper, I do not think that this team is fit enough."
And that is when we started to train. Dennis was a fit, strong man.
He would run to the ground from the hotel while we took the bus.

Colin Croft - He pushed us to the limit, I mean, madness. We were fit at all times.
If we weren't fit, we were glad to get fit. '

West indian historian - This team became the fittest Test team the world had seen, coming against a tradition of pot-bellied unfit cricketers. The fitness led to superb displays of catches, incredible endurance,there was a spectacle.

Colin croft - It was highly intense cricket, the hardest cricket I've ever played.
Andy Roberts - Every team had at least five genuine fast bowlers, every team. Every day you wake up,
you know that the cricket is going to be harder than the day before.

Viv Richards - That whole tournament itself had to change your whole psyche
to getting fitter, winner takes all, being in that zone to be as mean as anything else.




Why have they lost their dominance?? $$$ and shear weight of numbers caught up as other nations became more professional in their approach.

Unfortunately complacency by the West Indies Cricket Board, the lack of $$, national jealousies and biases among the Island Nations, no real national academy like Oz introduced in the late 1980's when Oz cricket was struggling, nothing like in India where the owner of Madras Rubber Factory was a cricket nut and employed Dennis Lille to start up a fast bowling academy, college sporting and education scholarships in the USA be it basketball or athletics or soccer, have seen the talent pool become shallower and the shorter T20 game and $$$ available in India, Oz, England and other domestic competitions, has made a weak domestic red ball competition become even weaker as we have seen the West Indian players become great T20 players and have left red ball test and first class cricket as its a poor 2nd or 3rd choice for some of the Windies players.

Thanks a lot for the detailed reply! I was actually thinking about this again the other day, because despite the thread being years old, I still haven't watched Fire in Babylon. Will get on that. Really interesting about Packer - I had no idea he had a nuts-and-bolts impact like that.
 

DaRick

Norm Smith Medallist
Jan 12, 2008
6,396
5,803
Brisbane
AFL Club
Brisbane Lions
Other Teams
(See avatar)
That tour was a low point among low points. That side actually contained some players with talent beyond just Brian Lara and gave next to nothing

RE that series, from memory their bowling was actually OK in patches, but their batting was every bit as bad as ENG's was this series, and ENG arguably batted in more difficult conditions against an attack that IMO was even more formidable (Warne missed the entire series, I never rated Bichel that highly, Lee and Gillespie weren't always available, and Miller/MacGill were not that much better than Lyon, if at all - Miller bowled much flatter than Lyon but got a 10-fer because WI batted like absolute gumbys against him in Adelaide).
 

footyfan1978

Hall of Famer
Aug 27, 2014
30,936
33,008
spacetime
AFL Club
Carlton
Other Teams
there are no other teams worthy
The restriction to 2 bouncers an over, first 2 to any batsmen, then only 1 per batsmen and then back to 2 to any one, in both Tests and ODI's made the Windies quicks a lot less lethal, but being forced to go from bowling 75-78 overs per day to 90 overs a day is rarely discussed. Those extra overs meant less of a rest between overs as well as more wear and tear on the body. These 2 factors aren't all of the story for the demise of the Windies, but they are a significant part of the reason why.
Plus you cannot be allowed to get away with only bowling 11 overs an hour. It was getting beyond a joke.
 

footyfan1978

Hall of Famer
Aug 27, 2014
30,936
33,008
spacetime
AFL Club
Carlton
Other Teams
there are no other teams worthy
Clive Lloyd has always said that the thrashing at the hands of G Chappell's 1975-76 team taught them that they had to knuckle down and be ruthless. It just so happened that at that time they had Viv Richards at the beginning of his career, Greenidge, Roberts, a very young Holding and an emerging battery of pace bowlers. Lloyd marshalled them superbly. They had a dominant era but the signs in the middle and towards the end of that era were that they were complacent. They thought it would be a never ending production line and became lazy

I grew up thinking the West Indies were best in the world as my introduction to cricket was the World Series Cricket on channel 9 in which we virtually played West Indies all summer and even games we played the World XI tended to have Viv Richards, Greenidge, Holding, Garner, Roberts and Lloyd often in it. I think second season they could not play for Word side too but they were clearly the best side and it was a fun adventure just to try to beat them. It is interesting they were thrashed 3 or 4 seasons before that, but that must have been at the height of the Thommo and Lillee mayhem. By time I was watching cricket Thommo was not around as he screwed his shoulder sometime between mid 70's and time I started to watch cricket. So he was not as fast and just not around. I think he did play a few seasons after World Series Cricket finished but by then he was just a veteran and shadow of how he must have been in mid 70's. Now it was the Windies with the pace edge and rather than have two speed demons that Aussies had in mid 70's they had four pace bowlers so it did not matter if Holding and Roberts were finishing their spell they had Garner or Croft or Wayne Daniel to pick up the slack and if not as good as Holding they were only slightly slower than him. None of this Ollie Robinson medium pace in sight as a release from pressure or danger of pace battery. When Roberts retired there was Malcolm Marshall.

But why they were so dominant I think was just a combination of luck of a few very talented players all around in same era and brilliant leader in Clive Lloyd.
It would also seem Kerry Packer made them feel they could not be complacent when they joined his World Series Cricket so it had added some professional attitude to the mix that I assume was lacking before he got stuck into them.

I think all dominant sides like Aussies in later 90's and early 2000's or Bradman sides of 40's or South Africa side before banned have an element of luck of a lot of talented players born in similar era. It goes through cycles where there are peaks and troughs for all nations.

It is a real pity the legacy of the World Series Cricket attitude and unity of Lloyd for players from different islands was lost some time in the later 90's.
I think you would have to be in a person living in the region to fully understand every factor that has played into why the really have fallen right away.
One can only hope a figure like a Clive Lloyd and talents like a Viv, Greenidge, Holding, Roberts and Garner can happen again some time soon.
World cricket really needs it badly.
 

Remove this Banner Ad

Remove this Banner Ad