rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Cricket » Team India was their last major conquest. Will it also be their next?

Team India was their last major conquest. Will it also be their next?

Last updated on: March 18, 2011 17:02 IST

Windies have not beaten a top team in two years

     Next

Next
Bikash Mohapatra in Chennai

It happened on 28 June, 2009.

That was the day when West Indies beat India by eight wickets at the Sabina Park, Kingston (Jamaica).     

It's been more than 20 months since.

- World Cup Coverage

The result has become significant in the intervening period because the above match marked the last instance when West Indies got the better of a top cricketing nation in an ODI.

The Caribbeans have played 33 One Day Internationals thereafter, and have faced top teams like Australia, India, South Africa and Sri Lanka during the period.

However, of the nine matches that they have managed to win out of those 33, not a single one has come against a major team.

Quite a come down for a side that was once a super power in the sport and dominated the game to an extent that the opposition was intimidated even at the thought of facing them.


Image: West Indies fans in Kingston
Photographs: Reuters
     Next

'We had an opportunity to win but we didn't take it'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

In those glory days of the yore the West Indies team was all-conquering, winning among other things, the first two editions of the World Cup.

Now only the vestiges remain.

Cricket in the Caribbean has been on a steady decline for the last decade or so and the West Indies winning a high profile game these days comes across as a surprise and makes the headlines, something akin to a loss they suffered in the good old days.

- Anil Kumble: Ashwin should play against Windies

The fact that they haven't beaten a top team in 33 matches spread over almost two years only corroborates the sorry state of affairs with cricket in the West Indies.

And the Caribbean camp does realize that the above is not a very flattering statistic and efforts need to be made to stem the rot.

"We all are aware that West Indies has not beaten a top team in about 20 months or so," admitted coach Ottis Gibson.

"We would like to change that. We were close against England (on Thursday) but couldn't finish things off.

"It was another opportunity for us but we didn't take it," he added.


Image: West Indies' Chris Gayle talks with coach Ottis Gibson (left)
Photographs: Reuters
Prev     Next

'In this match we hung on'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Gibson thereafter pointed out that the performance of his team against England, despite the fact that they finished second best, was a positive step.

Cup Extras: 'Axe skipper Ponting after World Cup'

"It showed that we are getting closer to beat a top team," explained Gibson.

"There was a time in West Indies cricket, not so long ago, when we would have capitulated or fallen apart when the opposition put us under pressure. But in this match we hung on," he added.

If the West Indies coach is to be believed, despite of the steady decline of cricket in the Caribbean, all hope is not lost yet.


Image: West Indies' Devendra Bishoo (centre) is congratulated by his teammates after claiming the wicket of England's Jonathan Trott on Thursday
Photographs: Reuters
Prev     Next

'Our young players seem promising'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

And that is largely because of the young crop of cricketers emerging into the scene.

"The young players that are coming out of our ranks seem promising. Darren Bravo, Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach and Andre Russell are all under 25 and are going to be the nucleus of the West Indies team for a long time to come. So there is a lot of optimism in our camp," reasoned Gibson. 

- Cup Camera: 'Pressure on Dhoni is too much'

But for the optimism to survive and bear fruit, Gibson's team needs to secure that one big result.

And their final group match on Sunday offers them yet another chance, this time against an opposition which happened to be their last major victim -- India.


Image: West Indies' Andre Russell celebrates taking the wicket of Ravi Bopara on Thursday
Photographs: Getty Images
Prev     Next

'We have got to win against India'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

West Indies, despite having six points in their kitty following wins over Bangladesh, Ireland and the Netherlands, is yet uncertain of its berth in the knock out stage.

A win against India on Sunday will secure them the same, as well as their first significant result since that fateful day in Jamaica.

"We have got to win against India," said Gibson, there being a palpable positivity in his voice.

If stats are to be taken into consideration, Gibson's optimism is justified.

Despite India's recent dominance in the one-day format, coinciding with the gradual decline of the Windies, the latter still 54-38 advantage in career meetings.


Image: India's Sachin Tendulkar laughs during a net session on Friday
Photographs: Reuters
Prev     Next

'We want to win to ensure we qualify for the knockout stage'

Prev     More
Prev

More

In the last decade or so India has not been able to cash in over the Caribbean side and translate their advantage into dominance.

In the last 30 matches between the teams, the Men in Blue have managed to get the better of the Caribbeans on half the occasions but the latter has also been victorious 13 times.

And a glance at these numbers can do enough to bolster of confidence of Gibson and his team.

- 'We need to post a total of 400 to beat India'

"We know it is going to be a packed house," he said.

"And we want to play our part in what is going to be a good game. More importantly, we want to win to ensure we qualify for the knockout stage," he added.

Team India was West Indies' last major victim. Will they be the next?

Come Sunday, the answer will be there for all to see.


Image: India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni plays football during a practice session on Friday
Photographs: Reuters
Prev     More