The world of cricket thrives on competition. Take that out, and you have a lifeless game dominated by a couple or more teams. India, Australia, England, and New Zealand/South Africa. These are the big four teams dominating cricket left, right and centre.
Pakistan blows hot and cold. Bangladesh threatened a meteoric rise but failed to live up to any expectations. Sri Lanka looks like staging a comeback, but the question of whether they'll ever be able to come close to the Sangakara era remains. Afghanistan is relatively new. They have the passion, hunger and a quality side that can upset big teams. But that's that. Nothing more. That brings us down to the West Indies.
The good old West Indies add flavour to an otherwise dull cricketing recipe. Big hits, outrageous celebrations, a strong attitude, resilience, an in-your-face style of play and many other qualities define the West Indies team of today. Cricket, as with all other sports in the world, needs to sell tickets at the end of the day. The T20 format, so to say, is the money spinner for the game, and West Indies boasts of the biggest superstars of the game.
To put things in perspective, Caribbean players are the soul of T20 cricket. IPL, BBL or PSL - they are everywhere and performing. But the irony is that West Indies - the two-time T20 champions, find themselves playing qualification matches for the T20 World Cup down-under.
Players like Russell, Narine, Evin Lewis and more are either unavailable for selection or playing franchise cricket. One can't blame them. The monetary aspect of it all is hard to ignore. But so is the sorry state of West Indies cricket. It is almost jittery to think that the island nation once ruled the world of cricket. The importance of everything coming together for the West Indies cannot be overstated. The world of cricket needs them to return.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen, and taken with it, the very soul of the game. The competition. The world doesn't need the Marshalls or the Garners. They just need the existing ones to come together and play as one. Play as men in maroon. Play as the West Indies.