Thursday, April 01, 2010

Why the Windies Will Never Dominate Again

West Indian acquaintances who learn that I am interested in cricket invariably ask me to explain why the West Indies, unstoppable for a decade not long ago, cannot recapture the days of glory. I usually just nod and remark on what a mystery it is and promise to look into it. The answer is pretty simple, though. The rest of the world adapted to the relentless pace attack that the West Indies mastered and monopolized during its Decade of Dominance. The rest of the world learned to hit fast bowling and to cultivate pace bowlers themselves. The West Indies needs a new trick if it aims to dominate again. Its population base is too small to allow it to outcompete year in and year out the teams from larger countries.

Another reason for the decline in the fortunes of West Indies cricket is a product of the earlier success. Youth cricket has become highly institutionalized in the West Indies with the result that "sandlot" cricket is an increasingly rare phenomenon. Youth are channeled into organized leagues, and playing outside the formal system is devalued. This drives many young would be cricketers away from the sport.

Still, you gotta love the Windies. They're America's team.

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