West Indies are unique in the sense that they comprise of proper nations instead of states/counties in the case of other test playing nations. They are largely made of 5 nations: Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Combined Islands (Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis) and Trinidad & Tobago. Although they were granted test status as early as 1928, they were largely under British rule for the first 3-4 decades of their cricketing existence. This, I believe, largely lubricated the tensions that typically arise when people from different nations come together in a team.
The swinging 60s saw the nations get independent from the British one by one, Jamaica being the first in 1962. Barring Antigua, the rest of the Brit-influenced Caribbean nations got their independence over the next 4 years. Antigua’s independence came last in 1981. There is no real evidence to believe that there were any tensions in the side due to nationality. It is to the credit of the various boards, and of course the players, that they were able to come together for a common cause: Cricket.
It is fascinating that each country of the West Indies has produced so many stalwarts that if they so felt, each nation could have competed individually and yet been a competitive, if not powerful team. Barbados exemplifies this perfectly. An island that is only slightly bigger than Chennai has produced such players as Greenidge, 3 Ws, Marshall & possibly the greatest cricketer ever: Garfield “Garry” Sobers.
The aim of this series of posts is to decide upon the all time XIs of the 5 major first class teams in the West Indies: Barbados, Combined Islands, Guyana, Jamaica & Trinidad & Tobago. We, by that I mean I, will look at the 5 all time XIs of the respective teams, the format of the competition and who will be crowned champions in the end. This hypothetical contest will be nothing more than an utter waste of time but hopefully the time wasted will be much entertaining.
The fact that there are five teams make it a bit complicated to make it a straight knockout but it will be a knockout nonetheless. Since 1966, these are the teams with the most championships:
|Trinidad and Tobago||5|
In our speculative competition, we have no separate teams for Leeward Islands. They will compete as Combined Islands. We are going to seed the teams according to the number of championships they have won.
- Combined Islands
The format will be simple. It will be a football style two legged tie with the higher seeded playing the 2nd leg at home. Trinbago will play Combined Islands for a place in the semifinals. The winner will play Barbados. The winner of that tie will obviously play the winner of the tie between Jamaica & Guyana. The pitches will be the sporting & juicy pitches of the 70s & 80s in the Caribbean & the rules will the latest rules except with a slight tweak: 3 bouncers allowed per over. Bats will also be today’s bats.
There is no concept of an away game in cricket like it is in football. This is going to be a points system devised by yours truly.
- Home win: 4 points
- Away win: 5 points
- Away Draw with 1st innings lead: 3 points
- Home Draw with 1st innings lead: 2 points
- Draw without 1st innings lead: 1 point
- Loss: 0 points
- Away win by innings/10 wkts/150 runs: 2 points
- Home win by innings/10 wkts/150 runs: 1 point
This does not take into account all outcomes. If teams are level on points the higher seeded team wins. After all, I am playing God here and I make all the rules. It isn’t fair but when is life fair?
In the subsequent posts we’ll see the all time XIs of the 5 teams. Don’t miss it.