Carlos Brathwaite wrote his name into the history books on Sunday night when he hit four consecutive sixes off the final over of the World T20 against England. His exploits helped West Indies win the World T20, their second trophy in the competition, and means that the Windies have completed “the triple” in 2016. The Under-19 team won the junior World Cup earlier in the year and the women also won the T20 trophy, ending Australia’s era of dominance.
But while the Windies stagger with swagger, things aren’t so rosy in the islands. Caribbean cricket is deeply divided, not just by region, but between the players and the board. The lead up to the tournament was marred by a bitter pay dispute between the board and the players and, last year, coach Phil Simmons was suspended for demanding the selection of certain players. At the post-match presentation, captain Darren Sammy hit back at the WI Cricket Board saying the team felt “disrespected” by them. It was an honest statement that was a breath of fresh air from a sportsman.
There are lessons for the South African team can take from the Windies’ victories over the last few months.
Finding strength in adversity
With so much controversy surrounding the Windies team, few would have expected them to pull together and win the tournament. It took a nail-biting effort from a lesser known player to pull it off, but Sammy insisted that this side were motivated not just by the disagreement with their board, but also by Mark Nicholas referring to the side as “short of brains”. Just like Tony Greig’s comment about “making them grovel” back in the 1970s, Nicholas’ comment inspired the Windies to prove people wrong.
Sticking two fingers up at the board
While we can’t exactly compare the WICB and Cricket South Africa, there is one slight similarity. While players will never state so publicly, since that selection debacle during the 2015 World Cup, there has been a lingering sense of mistrust amongst some of the players towards the board. But South Africa’s cricketers are far too polite and media-trained to ever publicly say anything. Sammy, on the other hand, had no qualms about blasting the board for the way their players were treated. Sometimes getting things off your chest can be a big relief.
Supporting each other
Whether it’s men supporting the women or the women talking about the Under-19 team’s success earlier this year, there has been a real sense of unity amongst the West Indies players. They are a region divided by their boards and administration, but united by calypso cricket. It’s not all kumbaya, let’s get together, but the West Indies found a genuine cause to rally around.
The use of spin
Despite not having star man Sunil Narine at the tournament, the Windies made great use of spin in the tournament. Despite being relatively inexperienced in terms of the IPL (he’s bowled just 18 overs ever in the entire tournament), the West Indies trusted Samuel Badree to bowl in the PowerPlay and open the bowling. This is in stark contrast to South Africa who rarely used a spinner in the first six overs of the tournament, despite stats showing just how effective spinners, especially legspinners can be in the shortest format of the game.
Source: The South African