Sunday, 2 October 2011

West Indies: Will the legacy be over?

Recently when during Champions League when Trinidad & Tobago captain was asked whether in future T&T could play as a separate team he replied by saying he could see it happening it soon. Soon there were so many articles supporting the move in so many Caribbean Newspapers. These voices were the echo of same demand raised many times specially in the bigger nations of Jamaica and T&

West Indies is a combination of 10 Independent Nations, 3 British Dependencies and 2 Overseas Territories.

Independent nations
  •  Antigua and Barbuda
  •  Barbados
  •  Dominica
  •  Grenada
  •  Guyana
  •  Jamaica
  •  Saint Kitts and Nevis
  •  Saint Lucia
  •  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  •  Trinidad and Tobago
British dependencies
  •  Anguilla
  •  Montserrat
  •  British Virgin Islands
Other overseas dependencies
  •  U.S. Virgin Islands
  •  Sint Maarten
 A combined team has been playing since 1926 when they got test status or rather unofficially from around 1900. They were a power house during the 1970-80's when they represented the power of Black Man standing up against the White Man. Representing Windies was an honor and they produced some of the greatest cricketers ever like Kalicharan, ViV Richards, Clive Lyoyd and so many more. They were a pace and batting powerhouse and defeating West Indies in West Indies was considered as the pinnacle of cricket.

Over time with globalistation coming in had 2 effects. Firstly it brought in many more sports which started taking away the youngsters into games like Basketball, Football. Secondly with more people migrating to US or Europe, cricket was no longer taken as a game of White against Black. This meant the West Indian cap wasn't any longer lucrative. With T&T Football team then Jamaican Football team reaching the world cup then Jamaica rising in athletics, representing the nation was a really proud effect

This also had an effect on the West Indian team. The performance of team went from bad to worse. Players could be seen more dedicated to playing for T&T, Jamaica or Barbados rather than for West Indies. With champions league and T&T reaching the finals in 2009, the pride of national cap was even further raised. The dedication of players towards national cap is much higher than Windies cap which is further compunded by regular disputes between WICB and WIPA. Also allegations of regionalism in WICB has added to this woes

Now the question arises what will happen if the West Indies break up. Lets look up at the constituent nations of Windies

SnoCountryPopulationTeamGDP (M)
2Trinidad & Tobago1300000Trinidad & Tobago21779
5Saint Lucia173765Windward985
6Saint Vincent and the Grenadines120000Windward640
8US Virgin Islands108448Leeward1577
9Antigua & Barbuda85632Leeward1106
10Saint Martin74852Leeward749
12Saint Kitts and Nevis42696Leeward469
13British Virgin Islands27000Leeward1229

The total population of West Indies is around 6 Million. Out of these Jamaica, T&T  have significant populations to make them significant and sustainable sporting powers. Passion alone cannot make great sporting teams. A population base is required to ensure constant supply of talent. Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are crazy Rugby Union nations, and their teams are good, but never strong enough to be amongst the best teams in the world. This can be seen across all the team sports.

If the West Indies break up, then perhaps Jamaica and T&T will be strong enough to rise to Test Status and Guyana and Barbados can be strong enough to be top team in Tier 2. The rest of the nations will not be able to have their own national teams. Either they break on the Regional Level teams of Windward and Leeward Islands or perhaps rest of the 11 nations combine to form and continue the legacy of West Indies, though much weakened.

The International cricket would also perhaps have to realign itself. A multi Tier system most likely a 3 Tier System would be most apt in the present circumstances.

Tier 1:- Aus, Eng, Ind, Pak, SL, NZ, SA, Jam, T&T, BD, Zim & Ire
Tier 2:- Afg, Can, Neth, WI (Rest of Nations), Barb, Guy, Ken, Scot, Wales, Nam, UAE
Tier 3:- Nep, USA, Ber, Uga, PNG, HK, Den, Oman, Italy, Malay, Tanz & Singapore

Every 4 years 2 teams should be promoted and relegated. The FTP should be formed in the same tier's however if a team wants to play against team of any other tier as per public demand, it should be left open. The ICC should be made more democratic with Tier 1 having 10 Votes, Tier 2 with 4 votes each, Tier 3 with 2 votes and rest of the 74 teams with 1 vote each. This would means that stronger team with the money have enough power to influence the game but simply cannot force decisions which are selfish  for the Top Nations.

I see Windies breaking in next 5 years and hope that will force the ICC to restructuring and a more democratic structure.

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