The game of cricket has had a long and complicated history in the West Indies. Originally imported to the West Indies as an agent of control and reaffirmation, the game steadily evolved into a cultural institution radically opposed to the original intentions of those who conspired for its import. The exact role cricket has played in terms of resistance to the postcolonial hegemonic order in the West Indies is widely debated. Much of this debate has to do with the variety of ways in which cricket culture has been allowed to progress according to specific histories of individual locales. Because of the diverse national histories in the region, styles of cricket vary a great deal from one island to the next, as does the cultural work each style performs. One must therefore question the usefulness in talking in-depth about West Indian cricket in ways that suggest the game developed throughout the region in a singular fashion. Having set forth this advisory, here I will attempt to point out some of the larger issues belonging to cricket culture in the West Indies which may or may not be specific to any single locale. Discussion of these larger issues is merely meant to stimulate conversation on the topic of cricket and its relatedness to postcolonial discourse. The game of cricket was exported from England to all of its colonies, including those in Asia and Africa, during the nineteenth century as a way to reinforce a hegemonic cultural order in the face of the emancipation of England’s slave population (see Colonial Education). A brief history of the state of affairs in the West Indies upon cricket’s arrival will help explain why a re-commitment to England’s Victorian ideals became necessary for continued colonial consolidation at this time of social and cultural turmoil.
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