West Indies are a side with a tremendously rich cricketing history, producing some of the greats of the game in Sir Vivian Richards, Brain Lara, Sir Garfield Sobers, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh to name a few. They have won the ICC Cricket World Cup on two previous occasions in 1975 and 1979, however, the first kings of cricket have fallen on hard times, currently sitting in 9th position in ICC ODI rankings.
2017 saw West Indies take part in six ODI series, failing to win a single one. The year began with a series loss to England at home; then there was the visit of subcontinental sides Pakistan and India, with both sides enjoying similar success to the English.
September saw West Indies travel to England to suffer yet another series defeat at the hands of their hosts which was soon followed by a whitewash in New Zealand against the Kiwis in December to wrap up what was a very disappointing year for West Indian cricket.
2018 would be a very important year for the West Indies in their bid to qualify for the World Cup. 10 teams including West Indies, Afghanistan, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Netherlands, Scotland, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Nepal and UAE competed in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier tournament, with the top two teams gaining qualification.
West Indies would win six of their seven matches to secure qualification. Unfortunately that was as good as it got for the West Indians. The rest of the year saw them play Bangladesh home and away in two closely contested three-match series, the tigers claiming victory on both occasions with a win in the final game.
In between there was a five-match series loss in India. The first three matches were closely fought with a win a piece and a tie, but it would end with a whimper for the West Indies as India would win the first of the remaining two matches by 224 runs and the later by nine wickets.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, as 2018 saw fantastic batsmanship from rising talents Shimron Hetmyer, scoring centuries against England, Bangladesh and India, and Shai Hope who scored two centuries against Bangladesh and one against India.
West Indies would see a return to some decent form in 2019 playing the top side in the world, England at home. Chris Gayle made a comeback to the side and smashed two fifties and two 100s in the series which was reduced to four games. He became the second batsman for his side in turn, after Brian Lara, to score more than 10k ODI runs.
On the other hand, Oshane Thomas bagged 10 wickets in the series which had a five-fer in the final ODI. England were held to a 2-2 tie in the series with one of the games having been abandoned.
The West Indians are a very unpredictable bunch. Inspirational captain Jason Holder recently said in an interview that he believes his side has what it takes to go all the way in the tournament, with potential match winners who on their day they can beat any team in the world.
One only needs to look at the T20 World Cup too see what they’re capable of, the team came in to the tournament without a sponsor and left with the trophy amidst all the internal turmoil within their cricketing board. The only thing that is certain with the West Indies is that nothing is for certain.
2019 World Cup Betting Odds:
West Indies to win: 20/1