West Indies, known for their tall and deadly bowlers and renowned batting prowess, have been a popular team in world cricket. Despite their recent struggles, fans and experts still eagerly anticipate the Men in Maroon’s matches, hoping for an entertaining spectacle. However, many might not be aware that West Indies is not a country but a subregion in North America, consisting of 13 island nations and 18 dependencies.
The term “West Indies” originated when Christopher Columbus discovered these islands, and Europeans began using the term to differentiate them from the East Indies and the Indian subcontinent. Like many other regions, the British ruled over the West Indies. In the 1880s, the first combined West Indies team toured Canada and the USA. In the 1890s, teams from various islands formed to play against visiting English sides and even toured England. In 1926, the West Indies Cricket Board, along with the boards of India and New Zealand, joined the Imperial Cricket Council, the predecessor of the International Cricket Council.
The West Indies cricket team represents several nations, including Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, and US Virgin Islands.
West Indies played their first official Test match against England at Lord’s in 1928. Initially, the team faced dominance from the white teams until Frank Worrell became the first Black captain in 1960, followed by the legendary Garry Sobers. Clive Lloyd further elevated West Indies cricket, leading them to World Cup victories in 1975 and 1979.
As West Indies is not an independent country, there is no official flag or anthem for the team. However, since 1999, the West Indies cricket flag features a palm tree and cricket stumps on a sunny island. Before that, a different flag was used, featuring an insignia with a cabbage tree and an island, with stumps but no sun, against a maroon background. The team’s cricket anthem is “Rally ‘Round the West Indies,” written by David Rudder, which fills the players’ hearts with pride.
Under the leadership of Kraigg Brathwaite, West Indies will face India in a two-match Test series in the new World Test Championship. Currently experiencing a decline, West Indies failed to qualify for the ODI World Cup and will be seeking redemption. They boast a strong bowling lineup with players like Jason Holder, Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph, and Shannon Gabriel. Youngsters like Alick Athanaze and Tagenarine Chanderpaul aim to make their mark.