Home > Features >

Chris Gayle and the West Indies bring the rock show back to cricket

Chris Gayle and the West Indies bring the rock show back to cricket

Unlike other teams that celebrate with gnashed teeth and clenched fists, the West Indies do it with a smile and Gangnam-style jig, as Chris Gayle (above) shows it © Getty Images

 

As if his brutal onslaught on the Australian bowlers at the World Twenty20 semi-final didn’t suffice, Chris Gayle underlined in one cheeky presentation the x-factor of the West Indian juggernaut. He said sorry to Sri Lanka because the World Cup was West Indies’!

It is hard to imagine any other current cricketer saying that with a big grin on his face to the home crowd and also getting away with it. We have waited nearly 20 years for it, but the Caribbean rock show is back in town.  

 

I have been asked before, probably by people not too familiar with their legacy, what was so special about the West Indies. Citing their formidable team of the ’80s is usually not enough to pacify such people because the past is irrelevant for them. They are entitled to that stance, because it is not just their statistical achievements during the ’80s that made the West Indies special. It is the art of winning by entertaining, winning with a smile on the face – of the players as well as the spectators – that makes West Indies unique among all cricket teams. 

 

Cricket has relied heavily on the international circuit where sports like football and basketball have ceded ground to domestic leagues. This means that jingoism is pretty much the norm in cricket. Friendly armchair conversations may be neutral and ‘objective’, but out in the stadium, it’s war – it’s us vs them. That means typically the home crowd falls silent when the opposition is going great guns….because their immediate concern is the possibility of defeat for their own team. That is, except when the West Indies are on fire. 

 

 

It doesn’t matter whether the fans in question are Asians or Englishmen; if there’s one team that people can root for irrespective of nationality, it’s the West Indies. Like a Maradona or Zidane in football, they enchant spectators with the unorthodox beauty of their cricket.   Nobody’s going to complain about brutal bashball in Twenty20 when the West Indies batsmen demolish opposition bowling lineups, because they do it their own special way.  Also endearing is their genial irreverence which is at odds with their almost frightening talent and brutal intensity. Not for them the gnashed teeth and clenched fists of the Aussies (with due respect to the great teams led by Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting).  They celebrate with victory jigs, done Gangnam style.

 

Perhaps, it is all the more heartwarming because they have been away for so long. Not literally away, but they have struggled to give a good account of themselves in international cricket generally and looked a pale shadow of a once invincible team, to put it mildly. But the Indian Premier League (IPL) offered the likes of Keiron Pollard, Sunil Narine and, of course, Chris Gayle a fresh platform to demonstrate their talent. 

 

Once they became stars in their individual capacity in the leagues, it was a matter of time before, after all the usual internal squabbling, they gelled as a unit and began to play to their potential. It appears that the inspirational feats of Usain Bolt and Yohann Blake at the London Olympics also spurred them on. Or did Bolt’s professed desire to play in the Big Bash League scare them? Whatever it was, everything fell into place against old foes Australia on Friday in a glittering showcase of the Calypso brand of cricket.     

 

Up next is Sri Lanka, the one team that well and truly outplayed and outthought them in the Super Eight. While the West Indian batting line-up could brutalise Brad Hogg and Xavier Doherty even on a turning track, the going may not be easy against wily Rangana Herath and the unpredictable Ajantha Mendis. Sri Lanka’s lower order has also swung into action in their last two games so West Indies can ill afford the complacency they showed in the closing stages of Friday’s match.  

 

Still….the result hardly matters at this stage. It is just fantastic to see West Indies strut their stuff on the biggest stage of cricket after a long time. Is this yet another false dawn or is a rebirth in the making? Time will tell. Until then, let’s enjoy the rock show while it lasts.  

 

(Madan Mohan is a 26-year old chartered accountant from Mumbai. The writing bug bit him when he was eight and to date, he has not been cured of it. He loves music, cricket, tennis and cinema and writing on cricket is like the icing on the cake. He also writes a blog if he is not feeling too lazy at http://rothrocks.wordpress.com/)

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 31, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Birmingham

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 4, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Leeds

More

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Dambulla

SL won by 7 wkts (D/L method)

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Nottingham

India won by 6 wkts

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 61 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 7 wkts

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Basseterre, St Kitts

No result

Photos

Aaron Finch's record 156 vs England in T20I

Videos

Alastair Cook looks ahead to 3rd ODI at Nottingham

Zimbabwe vs Australia Live Cricket Score, Zimbabwe Tri Series 2014 Match 4 at Harare: Australia reeling at 97 for 5

India tour of England 2014: Team India remains unbeaten under Ravi Shastri

Ambati Rayudu has to make every opportunity count if he is to play in ICC World Cup 2015

Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 3rd ODI at Dambulla: Highlights

MS Dhoni records most stumpings in international cricket during India-England 3rd ODI at Trent Bridge

Australia Australia and South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan South Africa Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014

Jason Roy included in England squad for T20 against India

Alec Stewart: India’s approach to one-day a lesson for England

Michael Clarke: ICC World Cup 2015 winner will be world’s best side

Stuart Broad expects to be fully fit in time for ICC World Cup 2015

India vs England 3rd ODI: Alastair Cook defends England’s approach

Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli’s fortunes in 3rd ODI against England reveal cricket’s funny side

Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014: Australia vs Zimbabwe 4th ODI key battles

Clive Lloyd: 22 less-recounted facts about the West Indian legend

India tour of England 2014: Team India remains unbeaten under Ravi Shastri

Statistical review of batsmen with two or more consecutive ducks from ODI debut

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

667 Posts | 6 Fans

10 Most Unbeatable Records in Cricket

Traditional healer responsible for bringing Ebola to Sierra Leone — scientists

Jharkhand conversion: Police seize 36 SIM cards and 15 mobile phone from Tara Shadeo’s husband

NGOs pursue education for all

Could your dentist’s office give you HIV or Hepatitis B?

Did you know: Salman Khan’s father and Farah Khan’s mother were lead pair in a 1963 film!

Sony Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact, Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact and more to be announced at IFA

Xiaomi Redmi 1S to go on sale tomorrow at 2PM for 2,000 Flipkart First subscribers

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Ganesh Visarjan 2014: A glum Ameesha Patel finds it hard to let go of her Ganpati- view pics!

North Korea slams UK TV show on its nukes as ‘hideous farce’

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here