Cricketing legend Sir Everton Weekes is hoping that the successes enjoyed by the West Indies teams in global competitions this year signal a beginning of a turn around in the fortunes of West Indies cricket.
Sir Everton, the only surviving member of the legendary Three Ws, also said he hoped the crowds would return to support the teams whenever the play in the region.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY after yesterday’s exciting victories by both the men’s and women’s teams in the World T20 tournament in Kolkata, India, the former test batsman contended that the victories, along with the earlier success of the under 19 team, seemed to be a very good signal for West Indies cricket.
“Great performance. I would think that all of the people who would have been watching and following West Indies cricket over the years would have been satisfied with the performances of the Under 19 Cricket team, the West Indies ladies and finally the West Indies senior male team.
“The victories augur well for West Indies cricket. I hope that the people will return to cricket because people had withdrawn because of the lack of performance,” he said.
Noting that T20 cricket usually called for slogging, Sir Everton, who struck a solitary six in his long career, said some of the runs scored by the West Indies batsmen yesterday were made in an orthodox style.
Lauding the quality of stroke-play displayed by Carlos Brathwaite, the cricketing legend said:
“It was not slogging, they were clean hits which carried the ball into the stands.”
Meanwhile the famous West Indies fast bowler of the 1960s and 70s, Sir Wes Hall was “over the moon” with the results.
“I am very happy that the West Indies have won three major trophies in the space of three or four months. It is something that we have been looking forward to for a very long time. We have won before but not like this. Our women cricketers are fantastic and I have been saying so for a long time. Our under 19 players have shown that they are competitive. We have been a force to be reckoned with, but to win says a lot,” he said.
The former fast bowler argued that when a country did well in any sporting discipline every young boy or girl wanted to emulate top performers and bring honour to their country and region.
“This has happened in Jamaica where every young boy or girl wants to win a gold medal at the Olympics because their sporting icons Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser did it,” Sir Wes said.
Commenting on the successes of the three regional teams, former middle order batsman Seymour Nurse said it felt as though he had won the lottery.
“I woke up this morning feeling like I had won a million dollars. I feel good because I am a West Indian and my navel string is buried in the Caribbean,” he told Barbados TODAY.
While lauding the Brathwaite’s contribution to the West Indies victory, Nurse also called for recognition and celebration of the role played by the man-of-the-match Marlon Samuels.
“The West indies is not one land mass like England, or Australia or India. We do not want to be insular by only congratulating Brathwaite. Cricket is a team game [therefore] any celebrations would have to be left up to the West Indies Cricket Board and the governments that make up CARICOM,” Nurse explained.
Former Barbados and West Indies opening batsman Cammie Smith also showered praise on the winning teams.
The former attacking opening batsman said: “Having the under 19 team winning and now having the women and the men winning is really an achievement. You cannot come better than coming first and winning. It is a magnificent effort.”
However, he warned against complacency and encouraged the players to work at improving their skills.
“So although the West Indies have won these competitions, they have to keep at it. However, there are so many other things that push youngsters off track that they may not continue playing sports,” Smith cautioned.
Meanwhile, former Barbados pace bowler Roddy Estwick, who is now the cricket coach at Combermere School and played a role in Brathwaite’s development, contended that his former student’s calm display in the dying moments of the game made a lie of former Hampshire cricket captain Mark Nicholas, who claimed that the West Indian cricketers were “short of brains”.
Estwick also called on the WICB to build on the successes of the teams.
“When we were a great cricketing region we tended to relax and allowed the cricket to flow. We now have to sit and put our heads together. We have to build on this momentum,” he advised.