We’re in Barbados where we discover
the importance of cricket to Caribbean culture. Cricket is the number one sport in the Caribbean. Cricket is what brings all the people and
brings all the families and gives all the people of the Caribbean joy. Where I come from, you can see children five
or six years old playing cricket. It’s in the veins of everyone and people
who you never thought would follow cricket are actually following. You have fans that watch the cricket and don’t
miss games whenever games are on television or in their home town. When we go out there we play the cricket not
for us, we play cricket for the fans. Cricket is deeply entrenched into Caribbean
culture. This year the whole of the region rejoiced
as West Indies cricket achieved unprecedented victories at the ICC World Cups with the Under
19’s, the women’s and the men’s teams all taking home silverware. When you win three cups, ICC trophies from
one year, this is not something simple. First was the under 19’s – they started
this whole thing; they played well, the team went into training, the coaches, the management
team, everyone worked well. Then the women! That in itself would have driven the men to
really want to repeat what they’d seen from the U19’s and the women. I don’t think there will be another final
like that ever, I mean winning the last over, 19 runs in 6 balls – I guess everyone was
expecting us to lose. If it wasn’t for our big hitters we would
have lost the game. I can’t explain how it felt for everyone
– all the spectators and everything – but I can only imagine what it meant for them. Not only one trophy, not only two but to bring
back all three, I mean that just had to put so much joy and so much happiness into the
people of the region. When West Indies is actually playing cricket
and doing well, it creates a buzz throughout the region so it’s very important for Caribbean
people. Grass roots cricket in the Caribbean has played
a vital role in the success of the youth and senior teams. There’s a program called Grass Roots program. By the time they reach Under 15, then it goes
on to Under 17 and Under 19 cricket it’s already in the blood, it’s already in the
system so it actually becomes easy whenever we start to play and reach a professional
league. It’s really well structured here in the
Caribbean and I think that’s something that really helps our cricket. You have something called second division, intermediate,
first division and elite – those are the different levels of cricket growing up. Then there’s the Caribbean premier league
where all different countries throughout the region will compete against each other, I
mean, that’s really where all the players are really drafted from so that’s a really
big part of our cricket. There’s so much competition in the region
for it, there are so many people from playing CPL and so on, that can really compete and
want to play for the west indies in that area so I mean, I guess that’s why we push our
players to want to do better and actually have to fight for their spot on the team. Although the West Indies have had huge recent
success with T20 cricket, their long term goal is to carry this over to their test and
One Day International performances. It would be so good to know that we dominate
both white ball and red ball cricket. That’s our biggest thing; we have done it
before in the past. Everyone is very happy whenever West Indies
are doing well in both formats. So it would be great for us as a team to play
as well as not only in white ball but in red ball and see if we can let our flag fly very
high again. With these T20 victories, now a lot more emphasis,
a lot more focus will be on the team to do well. We are hoping that we can come out there and
make the people feel proud again and keep West Indian cricket right at the top level. We need to really improve on our standings
in the test and 50 overs and so on but bit by bit I believe we will get there.

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Dennis Veasley

4 thoughts on “The Importance of Cricket to the West Indies | Gillette World Sport”

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