In-form West Indies cricketers are a treat to watch. This edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is blessed because almost all the West Indies players playing for the different franchises seem to be in good nick and that has added to the excitement of the fans.
Whenever players from the Caribbean islands have performed, whether with the bat or ball, cricket turns delightful.
Cricket lovers of the past can never forget the deeds of Viv Richards with the bat, or the late Malcolm Marshall with the ball.
After Richards retired, came Brian Lara whose strokes added to the aesthetic beauty of the game. No wonder fans addressed them as ‘King’ Richards and Lara as ‘Prince of Port of Spain’. Now fans throng the stadium to watch Chris Gayle, who enjoys being addressed as ‘Universe Boss.’
The IPL, as a tournament, is meant to entertain and generate excitement and there can be nothing more appropriate than having the West Indies players display all their skills.
This is why fans, who come to support their home team, want to see Gayle in form even if he is playing for their opponent. Gayle loves to boss over the bowlers, and every time his six lands amid the crowd, the whole stadium erupts.
If Gayle has been enthralling the IPL fans for the past decade; this time Andre Russell for Kolkata Knight Riders and Kieron Pollard for Mumbai Indians have also been in brilliant form. If that wasn’t enough, West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph entered the IPL record books with a spell of six for 12 in his debut match for Mumbai. Dwyane Bravo, too, was in good form before his injury and so is Sunil Narine, who justified his role as the mystery spinner.
It is unfortunate that these cricketers, who are match-winners, fail to get opportunities to be at their best at the international level due to differences with their cricket board officials. In fact, international cricket has missed on the flamboyance of the West Indies cricketers. All their cricketers play for joy and if they are not made to feel happy and respected, that shows in their performance. It’s not without reason that they are the only team to lift the ICC T20 World Cup twice in 2012 and 2016.
The West Indies cricket board’s differences with their players are being sorted out, and they are likely to announce their squad for the World Cup on April 23 by including some of the players who sparkled in the IPL. In that case, these players will be obliged to the IPL and T20 league will be grateful to them for making this edition so special through their contribution.