Windies rises from the ashes like a phoenix

Published: Sunday, September 26, 2004, 16:06 [IST]
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Twenty-nine years ago, the ninth-wicket pair of Derrick Murray and Andy Roberts pulled off a stirring win over Pakistan in the 1975 World Cup semi-finals and later the coveted Prudential Trophy. Similar feelings might have enveloped the entire West Indian squad when they spiked guns of an in-form English side and that too in their own den, to spark off joyous celebrations not only among the Calypso supporters present at the Oval but also all across West Indies.

For a country, which had hardly recovered from the 'Hurricane', which devastated the Islands; this was a moment to savour. For long the Carribean cricketers have been flayed for lack of character, passion and desire to perform for the country. Badly battered and bruised by England both in the home series as well in the away series, they were lampooned by the media to no end, and it was time they did something to shut some mouths. What a way to do it!

At 147 for 8, it looked a similar, listless top-order Windies collapse where everything was over bar the shouting. But the Barbados pair of wicketkeeper Courtney Browne, who hitherto had no great shakes as a batsman at the international level, and left-arm seamer Ian Bradshaw had other ideas and did the most unthinkable!

Not only did they offer a fierce rearguard action much to the chagrin of England, they kept spectators interest level going and ensured the match went down to the wire. Far from being a hopelessly lop-sided contest when the Windies were doddering at 147 for 8, they turned around things amazingly to script a glorious chapter in West Indian cricket after a pretty long hiatus.

Their international crown came way back in 1979 when they lifted the 1979 World Cup. Starved of major cricketing success, their wait was agonisingly a long one. No one is complaining now that the Carribeans have given their aficionados something to cheer about.

What good it would do to West Indian cricket is that they would re-earn the respect from other cricketing nations, which had eroded a bit following their abysmal performances in the recent past. Well done Windies; Three Cheers to you!

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