Who Are West Indies?
The West Indies also nicknamed the “Windies”, multi-national men’s cricket team representing the mainly English-speaking countries and territories in the Caribbean region and administered by Cricket West Indies. The players on this composite team are selected from a chain of fifteen Caribbean nation-states and territories.
The Windies acquired Test status in 1928, playing their first ever Test match that year against England at Lord’s. Overall, the West Indies have played 563 Test matches, winning 179, losing 204, drawing 179, and are also involved in one of only two tied Test in the history of Test cricket.
The current Test team is coached by former West Indies all-rounder Phil Simmons and captained by opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite, and currently sit in 8th place in the world Test rankings.
Between the mid-late 1970s to the early 1990s, the West Indies were the strongest Test side in the world. During that period, they were renowned for having some the best and quickest fast bowlers of all time, including, Lance Gibbs, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, Curtly Ambrose, Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh, Joel Garner, and Wes Hall. Whilst West Indies batsmen have always been known for playing with a certain grace and flare, this included the likes of Sir Gary Sobers, Sir Vivian Richards, and Brian Lara.
The Test History of West Indies
As previously mentioned, the glory years for the West Indies came between the late 1970s and early 1990s. The Windies team that played throughout this period were arguably the greatest and most successful Test team of all time. During the 1980s, the West Indies set a then record for the longest Test match winning streak of 11 consecutive victories.
Again, in the 1980s, triumphant moment came against England where the Windies inflicted two 5-0 “blackwashes” on England in 1984 in England and 1985/86 in the West Indies. During this period the West Indies were a dominant force but also enjoyed some strong Test series against Australia.
However, throughout the 1990s and 2000s there was a steady decline in West Indies cricket, in terms of its performance as the West Indies Cricket Board struggled to move the game from an amateur pastime to a professional game, which was also coupled the general economic decline of West Indian countries. Test cricket is far less popular in the West Indies these days, due to the rise of Twenty20 cricket, which the West Indies have had lots of success in.
Who Holds the Test Records for West Indies?
The Windies have produced so many impressive fast bowlers and are all legends in their own rights. Courtney Walsh is the West Indies most successful fast bowler of all time, he took 519 wickets between 1984 and 2001, in 132 matches. He is followed by Curtley Ambrose (405), Malcom Marshall (376), and Lance Gibbs (309).
Whilst Walsh, Ambrose, and Marshall are tied for the most five-wicket hauls in an innings with 22 each. Michael Holdings match figures of 14 wickets for 149 runs against England at the Oval in 1976 remain the best match figures by a West Indian bowler.
The West Indies highest Test run scorer is Brian Lara. Lara was one of the most loved batsmen of all time due to the flare in which he played with. He is seventh highest Test run scorer of all time with 11,953 runs in 232 innings, with 34 hundreds.
He was a batsman also renowned for amassing scores. Lara has two of the top three highest scores of all time in an innings. He has the highest score of all time with 400 not out of 582 balls versus England in 2004.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the Windies second highest run scorer with 11,867 runs in 280 innings and is the eight highest Test run scorer of all time. Whilst Sir Vivian Richards (8540 runs at an average of 50.23) and Sir Gary Sobers (8,032 runs at an average of 57.78 and he also took 235 Test wickets) are renowned as two of the greatest cricketers of all time.