Should the West Indies hold their horses?

Will the World T20 win turn the Windies into world beaters or will the men-in-maroon maroon themselves on the island of this recent success?

Do the West Indies have the horse power to last the full course?

It can be said that the team that enjoyed itself the most won the competition. But without taking much away from the West Indies, it can also be said that they won the 2012 World T20 final, not so much by annihilating Sri Lanka, but because of the mistakes made by Mahela Jayawardene and his boys. The bigger question is whether the West Indies will go back to being world beaters, memories of which have been beautifully brought back, thanks to the ‘Fire in Babylon’.  Or will the men-in-maroon maroon themselves on the island of this recent success?

Is it wrong to find fault with a team for winning a competition? Yes and No. Whether luck played a role in their victory is not exactly conjecture. The super over doesn’t help you choose the better team in a match, but since the T20 format is endorsed by Madame Lady Luck herself, it can be fair to say that the luck of the draw favoured the Windies. For the simple reason, that they earned it.  They lost to Australia and Sri Lanka in the group stages, but beat them in the semi-final and the final respectively. When life gave them a second chance, they caught it with both hands.

Winning the World T20 couldn’t have come at a better time for the West Indies. They love their cricket, and people love watching the eleven of them succeed together on the twenty two yards. However, this win must be used to generate success across formats, and the intensity will have to be retained for better pitches and opposition. Playing against an Australian side led by George Bailey is not the same as, when Michael Clarke is in charge.

But with the Windies, it is all the more important that they also treat this victory as a wake-up call. For when the euphoria over their win dies down, their every move on the cricket field will be analysed. One loss and trigger-happy critics will be happy to call the World T20 win a fluke, using their flutes to blow the wind out of the Caribbean sails.

At the same time one must be realistic. The problem with fans, is that they love to quote from West Indian cricket’s glorious past, comparing the present lot with the stalwarts who stunned the world with their swaggered displays of talent. Gayle is not Greenidge, Samuels is not Sobers, Rampaul is not Holding, and Sammy certainly isn’t Lloyd. Their future cannot be written with the help of a  history book.

The party has just started for the West Indies, but where are the bouncers? That Sunil Narine is the best bowler to have emerged from the Caribbean in recent times, is as good as saying that tofu is the best thing to eat on a trip to India. No disrespect to the man with the mohawk, but the Windies need to bring in bowlers who give the batsmen goosebumps. They need to find the pace that lasts five days, for the high fives to last.

It is what they do from now on that will matter, which depends on the kind of players that come in, and the kind of match winners they turn into. Importantly, they should not answer to the roll call of  Christopher Henry Gayle, who is 33 already. The Gangnam style-celebration brought a smile to everyone who was watching, adding comic relief to an otherwise stiff sport, where flair is rare, given the linear movement of its players. They looked sound enough. But do they have the horse power to last the full course?

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