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Cricket in the West Indies

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Cricket in the West Indies

Guyana, one of the premier cricket grounds in the West Indies.

The West Indies cricket is a sporting confederation of mainly English-speaking Caribbean countries and dependencies that formed the British West Indies.

Cricket is traditionally the main team sport in the West Indies (though others sports such as association football and basketball have challenged its dominance from around the 1990s onwards). The British West Indies hosted the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

The West Indies cricket team consists of players from the countries and territories of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago and the United States Virgin Islands.

Cricket is also played in other Caribbean territories such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands who are associate members of the International Cricket Council whilst the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Belize, Suriname and Cuba are affiliate members.

History

Origin

Cricket originally spread to the West Indies via the British military. Military officials established clubs, including St. Annes Garrison Club, and integrated cricket pitches into garrisons in the Caribbean. The first known reference to cricket in the West Indies is believed to be from June 1806, in the Barbados Mercury and Bridgetown Gazzette.[1] Two years later, a cricket match was held between the officers of the Royal West Indies Rangers and the officers of the Third West India Regiment. It is believed that the military was a major influencing force behind the drive to begin playing cricket porting this, there were known to be cricket pitches located in many garrisons all around the Caribbean.[2]

Cricket represented a type of warfare between the West Indies and other nations due to the fact that West Indies players felt they needed to prove themselves as a unified nation. Because cricket was used as an instrument of colonisation, a war to free themselves from colonialism was waged, on the cricket pitch. A desire to shed "happy go lucky players" as well as to assert themselves fuelled the desire to thrive in the English game.

Expansion of cricket

With the continued colonisation of the West Indies by the British Empire came the adoption of many British ideals and activities by many African slaves and their descendants. This adoption was a consequence of constant positive reinforcement from their masters for participating in activities that were familiar such as cricket, and abstaining from those that were perceived as taboo. Eventually, slaves were granted permission to play with military officials, who at one point only played cricket amongst themselves, in restricted roles. Foremost, they were allowed to prepare the wicket before matches, although some were permitted to bowl or retrieve batted balls.[3]

As official cricket clubs began to form, some black players were given the opportunity to play for white-majority clubs. However, many cricket clubs remained exclusively white, forcing black players to establish their own clubs that would only allow other blacks to join. Clubs such as the Barbados Cricket Committee (BCC), which was established in the late nineteenth century, adhered to the policy of an all-white team, while Jamaica's Melbourne Cricket Club was composed of only coloured professionals.[2]

The first inter-island competition took place in 1865 between [2] Over time, inter-racial games became more and more common, as black and white teams competed at first in an attempt to prove their dominance over the other territories. Some segregation still occurred, for instance black players were excluded "from clubhouse refreshment breaks during and after the game".[2] Gradually, blacks began to be employed on professional teams, marking the start of the decline of segregation in the sport.[2]

Societal impact

Cricket is traditionally the most popular sport in the West Indies, despite their independence from the United Kingdom. Games between England and West Indies teams during the post-colonization period were fraught with underlying political tension.[1]

The inclusion of black players in the West Indies team marked a moment of democratic integration in society. The talented West Indies players helped to overturn an existing idea of racial supremacy.[5] The societal impact of cricket in the West Indies is an example of the affects and complicated nature of class and race relations on the development of this imperial game, as well as the conflicting use of cricket as both a tool of imperial unity, as well as a medium to assert equality and independence for the West Indian countries.[1] Before slavery was abolished in 1839, cricket was considered a “constructive” past time for blacks. In that same time period, it was also considered a way for the white elite to exhibit their loyalty to the Crown.[6] As explained in Expansion of cricket above, after the abolition of slavery, cricket would slowly be desegregated until it became the sport we know today.

However two individuals worth mentioning are batsman Frank Worrell, who was captain of the West Indies team against Australia in 1960. Worrell’s appointment in particular was seen as a strong example of the developing nationalism and anti-colonialism of the time, as it was directly reflected in sporting culture.[7] The early 1970s to mid-1990s showed a major increase in the dominance of the West Indian cricket team. The general historical consensus is that this is due to an increase in fast bowling, and a strong “us” versus “them” mentality, where “us” was the black masses, and “them” was the privileged, dominant culture.[5]

The short-pitched fast bowling issue clearly had a racial dimension to it, and the West Indian cricket players of that time exerted a notable influence over the development of the game, and the society that loved it. In this way cricket served as a medium for both incorporation and resistance for West Indian society. Cricket created a sense of “national” identity, using quotations because the West Indies is composed of many different nations, while simultaneously challenging the traditional balances of power as long established by the colonial history of the region.[8]

Governing body

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is the governing body for professional and amateur cricket in the West Indies. It was originally formed in the early 1920s as the West Indies Cricket Board of Control (and is still sometimes referred by that name), but changed its name in 1996. The Board has its headquarters in St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda.

The WICB has been a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) since 1926 and is also a member of Americas Cricket Association. It operates the West Indies cricket team and West Indies A cricket team, organising Test tours and one-day internationals with other teams.

Domestic competition

The West Indies' major domestic competitions are the Regional Four Day Competition (Allen Stanford).

Other domestic competitions include the Inter-Colonial Tournament.[9]

In the case of the Regional Four Day Competition and the NAGICO Super50 (and formerly in the case of the Caribbean Twenty20) the following first-class domestic teams participate:

For the NAGICO Super50, a seventh domestic team still participates:

For the TCL Under-19 West Indies Challenge (both the first class and limited overs competitions) it is the Under-19 squads for these teams which participate, while for the CLICO Under-15 West Indies tournament it is the Under-15 squads for these teams which participate. In the 2004 TCL Under-19 Challenge the Under-19 Bermuda cricket team and an Under-19 combined Americas cricket team also took part.

In the WIWCF Senior Tournament and in the defunct Stanford 20/20 competition the separate components of the Leeward Islands and Windward Islands compete individually. Additionally for the Stanford 20/20 competition teams from outside the West Indies sporting confederation, but within the Caribbean, also compete including the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Cuba (which was barred from competing in 2008 by the U.S. embargo), the Turks and Caicos Islands (both competing in 2008) as well as the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico (announced for the 2009 edition of the Stanford 20/20).

In the Limacol Caribbean Premier League there are franchise teams competing, with each franchise currently representing one of the six traditional cricketing territories in the West Indies:

  • Hawksbills – representing Antigua and the rest of the Leeward Islands
  • Tridents – representing Barbados
  • Amazon Warriors – representing Guyana
  • Tallawahs – representing Jamaica
  • Zouks – representing St. Lucia and the rest of the Windward Islands
  • Red Steel – representing Trinidad and Tobago

Representative team

The West Indies cricket team, also known colloquially as The Windies or The West Indies, is a multi-national cricket team representing a sporting confederation of the West Indies.

The "Windies" is one of the ten elite international teams that play at the Test match cricket-level.

References

  1. ^ a b c Malcolm, p. 77.
  2. ^ a b c d e Malcolm, p. ???
  3. ^ Malcolm, p. 78
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Malcolm, p. 83.
  6. ^ Malcolm, p. 78.
  7. ^ Malcolm, p. 82.
  8. ^ Malcolm, p. 88.
  9. ^ ESPN CricInfo http://www.espncricinfo.com/caribbean-premier-league-2013/content/story/663757.html

Bibliography

External links

  • West Indies Cricket Forum – News and Discussion
  • WindiesFans.com Portal site for West Indies cricket fans
  • West Indies Cricket Board
  • West Indies vs Zimbabwe Cricket Series 2007
  • CaribbeanCricket.com Independent news/discussion site on West Indies cricket
  • Westindies Cricketers
  • Global Style Cricket West Indies News and Discussion
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