New Zealand defeated India by 8 wickets at the Rose Bowl in Southampton to become the first winner of the ICC World Test Championship. It will be a day that will go down in the annals of New Zealand cricket history as their greatest. It certainly was just reward for New Zealand and Kane Williamson after the bitter disappointment of the 2019 ICC World Cup final at Lord’s, when they were judged the losers on a technicality.
New Zealand is a country with a small population and a very strong rugby culture; the famous All Blacks are everything. Also, the climate does not really suite outdoor life and cricket. However, despite these challenges, New Zealand has historically held its own in world cricket. Since the 1970’s, the Black Caps have become a force and shed their inferiority complex – against their traditional rivals across the Tasman Sea, who have dominated world cricket, and against their former colonial power.
New Zealand cricket is an example of what a well-run and dynamic cricket organisation, with limited financial and human resources, can achieve in world cricket. In the words of Kane Williamson “New Zealand has no world-class players but are a unified team, that has a good work ethic, and plays the game with some real old-fashioned guts and passion”. Williamson is a very modest man; he is a world-class player and leader of men.
During the same week, the West Indies lost their two-match home Test series to an average South African team. In the four innings of the two Test matches they never passed 200 runs. This must without doubt be the weakest West Indies team in their rich history. It would be unfair to even think of comparing them to Sir Clive Lloyd or Sir Viv Richards’s great teams; you simply cannot. However, compared to other West Indies teams there is no comparison.
West Indies cricket faces extinction, especially in the Test arena. What a tragedy that would be. World cricket needs a strong, charismatic and flamboyant West Indian team.