By Dr David Hinds
The victory by the West Indies team in the first test match of the Bangladesh tour represents one of the greatest moments in West Indies cricket history—a great West Indian moment. For me it ranks alongside the historic victory over England in 1950, the World Cup triumph in 1975, the 1976 humiliation of England, the “blackwash” of England in 1984; Brian Lara’s 1994 breaking of the legendary Garry Sobers’ record and the two T20 World Cup wins in 2012 and 2016 under the leadership of the much-underappreciated Darren Sammy.
I characterize those moments as great because they galvanized the Caribbean society beyond the boundary. My inclusion in this category of Lara’s accomplishment and the two T20 wins may puzzle some people. But in Lara’s case, he broke the record at a time when the fortunes of the great teams of the 1970s and 1980s had begun to show signs of decline. His achievement gave hope to the region that all was not lost. And the World Cup victories were achieved while West Indies cricket was on its knees.
When the first-choice players declined to tour Bangladesh, one was torn between frustration and understanding—frustration that not for the first time our players appear to be taking lightly their roles as shapers of our collective struggle for selfhood and understanding because of the deadly consequences of the pandemic. So, many of us did not give the so-called second-string teams a chance. The performance during the ODI leg of the tour seemed to confirm our assessment. Then out of the blues came the incredible victory led by the little-known Kyle Mayers.
The manner in which the batsmen went about their business on the last day was reminiscent of the best in the Caribbean character. It had all the necessary ingredients—the traditional West Indian flair; the mental toughness of the great teams of the Worrell era of the early 1960s and the Lloyd-Richards era of the 1970s-80s; the arrogance of West Indian self-confidence; and the trademark resistance of the oppressed. It was something West Indian to the bone—a special that touches the soul of the people and brings us to life.
We should be excused if we allow ourselves the luxury of believing that this moment is the catalyst for that resurgence of glory that we have hoped and prayed for since 1995—yes, 26 long years. But for now, our spirts are lifted above the violence of the pandemic, the continued visionless drift of our politics and the economic depression that faces the poor in our midst. Our young men in marron with bat and ball in hand in a far-off land have rekindled hope that our civilization will not fade away—just like that. We live to fight on for another day.
And, for us Guyanese, we are jolted from our rancorous, foolish self-destructive political nothingness to the realization that we are also West Indians.
More of Dr. Hinds’ commentaries can be found on guyanacaribbeanpolitics.news