BRISTOL, England, (CMC) – Captain Jason Holder has underscored the importance of the ICC World Cup to the Caribbean, and hopes his West Indies side can make the region proud when the tournament bowls off here Thursday.
West Indies boast a fabled history in the tournament, winning the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979 – both staged in England – and reaching the final of the 1983 edition before dramatically losing to India.
Though there has been little success since then, fans’ expectations have been raised especially following the side’s 2-2 draw with world number ones England in the five-match one-day series earlier this year, and Holder said they would be aiming to put some smiles on the faces of supporters again.0
“We’ve spoken a lot about restoring pride to West Indian cricket,” said Holder, the world’s leading all-rounder in Tests.
“We know the significance of our success to an entire region. When the West Indies are doing well, an entire region is happy. What other sport can say that? The success of those teams of the past is held close in the hearts of all our people, they adore their cricket.”
Legendary captain Clive Lloyd was the architect of the region’s previous World Cup titles, and his hundred in the ’75 final against Australia at Lord’s help set the two teams apart.
The final four years later belonged to Lloyd’s heir apparent, Sir Vivian Richards, who unveiled a magical unbeaten 138 against England, again at Lord’s, to power West Indies.
While those memories remain fresh in the minds of Caribbean people, Holder said his side were looking to create their own history in coming weeks.
“I understand their achievements but I don’t want to dwell on it. I want to create my own legacy and we are in control of how people remember this team in 30 or 40 years,” Holder pointed out.
“As a collective we can highlight the significance of history but it comes down to you as an individual. No one can change the past and we wouldn’t want to but let’s focus on the future and what we can control.”
West Indies will not be among the favourites when they face Pakistan in their opening match in Nottingham on Friday. They have not won a series in five years and were forced to play in an ICC qualifying tournament to reach the World Cup, after finding themselves ranked ninth in September 2017.
However, their daring brand of cricket in the recent series against England has offered plenty hope, and Holder believes opponents can write off West Indies at their peril.
“We know we are underdogs and it’s not a problem for us, we’ll be doing everything in our power to win this competition,” he stressed.
“Just look at Tiger Woods [winning the Masters earlier this year], it proves anything can happen in sport and sometimes. When the pressure is off or attention is elsewhere, amazing things happen.”
West Indies take on New Zealand today in their final official warm-up match before the tournament bowls off. Their first warm-up on Sunday against South Africa was rained off after only 76 balls.
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For many years the West Indies team ruled the cricket world, playing undefeated in a Test series for over 15 years. Recently the West Indies team has suffered several losses but with the emergence of new high-calibre players the future for the West Indies cricket team looks very good!
West Indians are passionate about their cricket, quick to cheer when the team performs well but also quick to criticize a poor performance. Thousands of West Indians always turn out to watch their team play .... and hopefully win!
Cricket is seen as a unifying force in the West Indies, bringing together players (and supporters) from across the region. This gentleman's game has brought considerable exposure to the islands of the Caribbean, with the West Indian cricketers being remembered not only for their incredible talent and skills but also for their deportment and sense of fair play.