It is with great joy that we herald the start of the second Test against England at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium today. Of course our excitement is all the more bubbling because of the severe beating meted out to the so-called, “Lords of cricket” in Barbados a few days earlier.
Oh yes! It was at Kensington Oval that our boys decided to finally stop being patsies for the rest of the world and administer ‘plenty blow’ for a change. Needless to say, it was a refreshing and totally satisfying spectacle – our boys bowling out the Englishmen for 77 in the first innings and then running up the scoreboard. The final score told the tale of how they took the fight to the English and prevailed with a 381-run victory.
Of course this is no time for resting on their laurels. Indeed there is much work yet to be done. But it is a tremendous start. Sir Andy Roberts said as much when he mused, “If they play well . . . they may win, but if they go and think that they are one-nil up, that may be their downfall. But it’s good to see that they played like they wanted to play . . . I’ve always said that if you decide to work hard you will achieve.”
Very well said, Sir Andy, and we concur. We firmly believe that, on paper, this team is as talented as any, and on any given day our boys can kick some real derriere. What we thought was lacking was that ‘fire in the belly’, that desire, that good old-fashioned spirit to not be denied and to triumph at all costs. The once-mighty West Indies became feckless and pusillanimous, rolling over and capitulating to all comers. It was painful to watch our team as they always seemed to insist on “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.”
Unlike the Sir Andy and Sir Viv teams of the mid-70s to mid-90s that always seemed to be able to “snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.” Even when their backs were against the wall, even whilst facing the most daunting and overwhelming odds, they found a way to eke out a victory.
Much to the delight of West Indies fans everywhere. And every game featured a different and unlikely hero, performing wondrous exploits outside his normal sphere. Garner and Andy assaulting bowlers and hitting sixes to chase down runs. Holding hoisting sixes. Sir Viv taking the ball and capturing key wickets. The night-watchmen holding the fort, piling up runs, and saving the side.
And let’s not forget those who just did what they were accustomed to do – Fredericks, Greenidge, Haynes putting on splendid and enormous opening partnerships. Lloyd wielding his big bat and demoralising opposing bowlers. Sir Viv aka ‘Smoking Joe’ or ‘The Master Blaster’ dispensing of bowler after bowler with nonchalant ease. Sir Andy, Garner, Croft, Marshall and Holding striking terror in the hearts of those who pretended to be batsmen. Yes, when facing the West Indies in their heyday, opposing batsmen were all pretenders. It is not difficult to imagine that many became so discouraged that they contemplated retiring from the game. Watching the West Indies in action back in the day was indeed “a thing of beauty, a joy forever!”
So in that spirit, and that grand tradition of winning, we submit that this West Indies team has found its will and way to prevail. We believe that this team will be doing exploits and bringing back the joy and pride of yore. We are true believers! So we are sending them the great riff from Short Shirt’s LEAD ON ANDY, LEAD ON VIVI: “Lead us on to victory . . .!” It is an idea whose time has come.