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More than just a victory

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There were many smiling faces across the Caribbean last Sunday and West Indians the world over were also infected with the joy of the West Indies triumphing in the world T-20 cricket competition.

Many who support would have raised a glass or two last Sunday and momentarily forgotten about the personal and economic woes, and celebrated a rare occasion.{{more}}

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but anything which will help to resuscitate belief, self-assurance in West Indies cricket is always welcomed.

Unfortunately, those who were born two decades ago or thereafter, may not have devoured the win as those who came before, as they would have endured the many years in the wilderness, faithfully awaiting the manna from those who carry the hopes of the peoples of the region.

But to be fair to the young generation of cricketers, they have been judged by the standards of those of the past, when the West Indies ruled the world with its indomitable self in tests and to some extent in the 50-over game.

So what Darren Sammy’s men did over the past two weeks and more so last Sunday, to stun Sri Lanka in front of a capacity crowd at the Premadasa Stadium, was more than a reward — it was priceless for the psyche of Caribbean people.

With the T-20 format, the newest of the variations, the current team has set down its own marker, as it was the first time the West Indies has won such a competition, in this, the fourth edition.

On reflection, the triumph seemed scripted.

The West Indies emerged from the preliminary round without a win, losing to Australia and their match against Ireland ended in a no-decision.

In the super eights, the West Indies defeated England by 15 runs, but lost convincingly to Sri Lanka by 9 wickets.

Down and out in the last of the super eight matches, they inched their way into the semi-final with a nervy super over eliminator against New Zealand.

It took a piece of brilliance from substitute fielder Dwayne Smith, a direct hit to run out Doug Bracewell, to tie the scores, and send the match to the eliminator.

The West Indies then clobbered Australia by 74 runs in the semi-finals, to reach the final against Sri Lanka.

And, last Sunday, out of the depths of almost despair, the West Indies was able to overcome the host by 36 runs, in a match the Sri Lankans were much fancied to win, after the West Indies made a modest 137 for 6 from their 20 overs.

It was this never-say-die attitude which characterised the West Indies teams of the past when they were almost invincible; hence the reason for the hype in emotions of some persons, as it rekindled the fire in them which was seemingly extinguished for almost two decades.

No one should believe that winning a world Twenty20 title, we have even mastered that format.

Neither must we harbour the feeling that the West Indies is back on top of world cricket, as that format is basically a lottery, where at times any number could play.

What though is paramount is the lessons learnt; the attitudes cultivated during the world T-20 competition, which could be transferred to mainly the real deal — test cricket, where you can be regarded as true champions.

The world T-20 title was a lesson in teamwork and should be an eye-opener for both the West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies Players Association who continuously engage in dog fights over contractual issues, that with genuine cooperation one can move mountains.

But the person who should savour Sunday’s triumph most is team captain Darren Sammy, as he has been the target of ridicule, the receptacle for some of the most disparaging comments from persons who questioned his place in the team; yet he did not throw his hands up in the air and give up, but sought to hold on for the cause of the regional side.

Unfortunately, many persons in the Caribbean speak conveniently of regional integration, but deep down insularity resides.

We simply got it right on the field last week Friday and last Sunday; now let us get it near perfect in the meeting halls of those who administrate the sport in the Caribbean.

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