Curtly Ambrose, the former tearaway fast bowler feels that it could be difficult for the West Indies to regain their glory days of the 1970-the 1980s because the current crop of players probably doesn’t quite understand what cricket means to the Caribbean people.
West Indies dominated world cricket from the 70s to the early 90s, as they captured the first two editions of the World Cup during this period. However, their fortunes dipped drastically from the mid-90s, and they have not been the same force to be reckoned with since then.
Curtly Ambrose: Most Youngsters Don’t Understand What Cricket Means To Windies
Speaking on Talk-Sports Live, pacer Curtly Ambrose lamented the lack of appreciation for the legacy of West Indies cricket among the current players.
“Most of the youngsters we have now probably don’t quite understand what cricket means to West Indians in the West Indies and abroad because cricket is the only sport that really unites Caribbean people.”
Curtly Ambrose elaborated why he doesn’t believe West Indies could be a great team all over again.
“This is no disrespect to the players we have now because we have a couple of guys who have some quality in them and can become great, but what we have to understand is that I don’t think we will ever see those great, exceptional glory days again.”
The West Indies appeared in three consecutive World Cup finals (1975, 1979, and 1983), and was the first team to win back-to-back World Cups (1975 and 1979).
Statistics highlight their dominance between 1976 and 1995, which coincided with their golden era. West Indies won 71 of the 137 Tests they played in that era, losing only 18 – a win-loss ratio of 3.89.
In the 80s and until the mid-90s, the Calypso Kings played 31 Test series, winning 21 and losing only one. In the shorter format of the game too, the Windies were unstoppable. Apart from winning the 1975 and 1979 World Cups, the Windies were consistent performers in One Day internationals, winning 173 of the 270 matches played between 1979 and 1995 – a win percentage of just over 64.
Curtly Ambrose: West Indies Could Find It Difficult To Produce Legends Like Viv Richards
The 57-year-old further added that West Indies could find it difficult to produce legends like Viv Richards or Michael Holding in the future.
“It’s going to be difficult to find another Viv Richards or a Haynes and Greenidge, a Brian Lara, Richie Richardson, you know, a Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, and the list goes on and on, Clive Lloyd. It’s going to be extremely difficult to find those quality players again.”
Curtly Ambrose claimed 405 scalps in 98 Tests and feels that despite the possibility to top the rankings by climbing the charts, the glory days are more or less over.
“When we were the best team in the word, West Indians all over the globe could walk and boast about how good we were because we were the best, so it’s going to be difficult to see those glory days again. Yes, we can be competitive and climb up the ICC rankings and be a force to be reckoned with again, but those glory days, I don’t think we will see them again.”
West Indies are the defending champions in the T20 World Cup(2016); they also won the tournament in 2012. However, they have struggled to make an impact in ODIs and Tests in the last two decades.
The West Indies have won the ICC Cricket World Cup twice (1975 and 1979), the ICC T20 World Cup twice (2012 and 2016), the ICC Champions Trophy once (2004), and have also finished as runners-up in the Cricket World Cup (1983), the Under 19 Cricket World Cup (2004), and the ICC Champions Trophy (2006).
However, West Indies were eliminated from the group stage in the 2019 World Cup and didn’t reach finals again since 1983 and failed to reach semi-finals after 1996. West Indies are currently placed 8th in ODI, 8th in Test, and 10th in T20Is according to the latest ICC rankings.
With inefficiency and corruption plaguing the WICB, financially struggling players looked towards the cash-rich IPL. Players like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, and Darren Sammy became IPL stars. IPL’s success prompted other boards to launch their own T20 tournament.
One can now watch the likes of Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo in PSL, CPL, BPL, and the BBL too. West Indian cricketers have turned into “T20 mercenaries” – those who prioritize clubs over national duties.