Experts are scared that WICB split can be the worst thing that can ever happen to cricket © Getty Images
Experts are scared that WICB split can be the worst thing that can ever happen to cricket © Getty Images

There are reports that West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) can get dissolved in 10 years, i.e., by 2025 and would eventually split into small island nations that will represent themselves as individual nations and will continue to play cricket thereafter. However, experts are scared that it can be the worst thing that can ever happen to cricket, as the game may lose its charm, and most importantly, the quality of competitive cricket that has emerged from the island nation as a whole. However, it can well be the other way round. We may see a whole new level of competition emerging in the game. Ayush Gupta analyses how the WICB split may affect the cricketing island nations and the game as a whole.

WICB was originally formed in 1920 by the name of West Indies Cricket Board of Control. It is still referred to by the name in some islands. It was believed that by combining the island nations, it would form a team that may form the most formidable and dominating force in cricket. Over decades, West Indies cricket has surpassed the expectations. They were won the first two World Cups, in 1975 and 1979. They also came close to make it three in a row in 1983, only to be beaten by India in the final at Lord’s. West Indies few defeats away from being labelled ‘minnows’

Even after the defeat in the 1983 final, West Indies retained their supremacy. They did not lose a single series, home or away, for fifteen years. Then, slowly, the decline started. By the time Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Brian Lara had bowed out and Shivnarine Chanderpaul sidelined without a reason, West Indies have slid down. They are currently ranked eighth in Tests and ninth in ODIs, and have definitely deteriorated in the two prime formats of the game.

Nevertheless, with the team going through a transition phase, rumours have started pouring that things are not working well in WICB, especially after the formation of West Indies Player’s Association (WIPA). With the seemingly serious current situation, former WICB director Baldath Mahabir recently stated that the board may get dissolved in around 10 years (by 2025). This comes as a shock to West Indies cricket fans. With the team already on a slide, dissolution of the national cricket board can be utterly disastrous for cricket in the island nation. ICC and World cricket must intervene and save the West Indies cricket

Nonetheless, despite it appearing, prima-facie, as something that should surely not happen, giving yourself a second thought makes it appear just the other way around. Although the dissolution of the national board may see West Indies getting ousted from the game, it will lead to it being replaced with small island nations that actually led to the build-up of West Indies cricket. It must also be noted that competition in West Indies domestic cricket is fierce and tough, that would eventually lead to a tougher competition in cricket, overall.

If WICB happens to dissolve, following are the new teams which we can get to see in world cricket:

  • Barbados
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Montserrat
  • St Kitts & Nevis
  • St Maarten
  • United States Virgin Islands
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent & the Grenadines

There it is! 14 new teams will appear in world cricket all of a sudden. Though fans are aware of merely a few of these, especially ones that have started hosting international cricket only of late, they have been producing quality cricketers who move to premier teams to earn a chance to feature for West Indies. West Indies uncover spin talent in Jomel Warrican, Kraigg Brathwaite

And then, there are the big five — Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad, Antigua (who had been a part of Leeward Islands, and before that, Windward & Leeward Islands) and Guyana, teams that have dominated West Indian cricket for decades. The long table below shows some legends and promising cricketers from the islands:

Teams Former Current
Barbados Garry Sobers, Everton Weekes, Frank Worrell, Clyde Walcott, Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Gordon Greenidge Sulieman Benn, Kirk Edwards, Kraigg Brathwaite, Tino Best, Jason Holder, Kemar Roach
Guyana Clive Lloyd, Rohan Kanhai, Colin Croft, Carl Hooper, Roger Harper, Alvin Kallicharran Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Travis Dowlin, Devendra Bishoo
Jamaica George Headley, Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh, Jeff Dujon, Lawrence Rowe Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Andre Russell, Jerome Taylor
Trinidad & Tobago Learie Constantine, Brian Lara, Ian Bishop, Deryck Murray, Sonny Ramadhin Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul, Kieron Pollard
Anguilla Omari Banks
Antigua & Barbuda Viv Richards, Richie Richardson, Andy Roberts, Curtly Ambrose Sylvester Joseph, Devon Thomas
British Virgin Islands
St Kitts & Nevis Elquemedo Willett, Stuart Williams, Derick Parry Kieran Powell
Sint Maarten
US Virgin Islands Hamish Anthony
Dominica Grayson Shillingford, Irvine Shillingford, Norbert Phillip, Adam Sanford Shane Shillingford
Grenada Nelson Pascal Devon Smith, Andre Fletcher
St Lucia Darren Sammy, Johnson Charles
St Vincent & the Grenadines Alfie Roberts, Mike Frindlay, Winston Davis, Nixon McLean, Cameron Cuffy Kenroy Peters, Delorn Johnson

With that being said, it would now be easy to envision the strength of the West Indies side over the years. Though the dissolution of WICB may lead to a toned-down competition from the island nations, it will indeed enhance the competition in world cricket in a different way, as more and more players will start coming into the frame and will earn easy and quick recognition at international level, instead of waiting for years to get a chance for the West Indies national team. In short, keeping the sentiments aside, it may not be a bad choice if WICB indeed decides to dissolve and split.

Thus, with more Test caps up for the grabs, youngsters will be more motivated to take up cricket. This will probably draw the youth in the Caribbean to cricket: isn’t lack of motivation often cited as the reason for a decline in West Indies cricket?

There could also be an outside chance owing to the split that International Cricket Council (ICC) can well make the Cricket World Cup more competitive by increasing the number of participating teams. This may see these islands participate in the grandest stage of the global tournament and fight it out to be one of the best (remember Commonwealth Games 1998?).

However, the talking point initially would be whether these island nations will automatically earn full ICC membership, or will have to begin their new journey in international cricket as an associate member.

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer and is also a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) maniac. He can be followed on Twitter @Ayush24x7)