Creating calypso in the IPL

Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard, Alzarri Joseph, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle... It’s the West Indians who are dominating IPL 2019.

Andre Russell has been devastating for the Kolkata Knight Riders this season.   -  PTI

The two big game-changers of this year’s Indian Premier League are from the West Indies — Andre Russell for the Kolkata Knight Riders and Kieron Pollard for the Mumbai Indians.

Then there is Alzarri Joseph who bowled himself into the record books with six wickets for 12 runs on his IPL debut for the Mumbai outfit. There’s Sunil Narine who with both bat and ball is making a difference. Not to forget the ‘champion’ Dwayne Bravo, who unfortunately is injured at the moment.

Then towering above them all is the ‘universe boss’ Chris Gayle. These West Indian players have dominated the IPL like no one else. This explains why the West Indies have won the ICC T20 World Cup more than any other country.

Yet when it comes to picking players at the auction, the Windies players are not always the first choices. Neither are former West Indian players considered for coaching assignments when their game and style make them naturals for this format. And who doesn’t love the West Indian accent? So why is there so little of it in the commentary box.

Some years back when very few English players were picked by the franchises, Kevin Pietersen — then still actively playing — said memorably that it was hard to understand why second- and third-rate Aussies were getting a gig in the IPL when classy English players were being overlooked.

That may well have been the usual England versus Australia situation that prompted the reaction, but when one does look back at the IPL over the years, it does show that the West Indian players have been the real game-turners, far more than those from other countries.

It really has been heart warming to see the way the Windies have been playing in recent times. The way they beat England in the Test series and then matched them in the limited overs series does suggest a turn-around in the fortunes and that is only good news for world cricket.

The flair, the flamboyance, the athleticism, the power and the sheer joy of playing the game that the men from Caribbean bring is simply delightful and infectious as crowds love them all over the world.

There has been a change at the Board level too and the news is that the new dispensation will consider anybody who makes himself available for selection.

Kieron Pollard has come out strong for the Mumbai Indians.   -  Vivek Bendre

This means that the earlier condition of players having to play domestic cricket to be considered for selection to the West Indies team no longer applies and it means that the best players will be selected. This makes the Windies a strong team indeed.

It's been a fair while since the Windies have looked a threat at the international level, and now that they are once again giving oppositions plenty to think about, it is bringing smiles to millions of their supporters all over the world.

Their cricketing anthem ‘rally round the West Indies’ has been one of the most foot-tapping in the game, and cricket lovers have been rallying round the West Indies for way too long. Now is the time to see them play the game as only they can.

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