PERHAPS no cricket team in history is as revered as the West Indies side of the 1980s. From 1980 to 1995, the team did not lose a single Test series. The Caribbean cocktail of ferocious fast bowling and aggressive batting resonated far beyond the field. “I have 5m West Indians depending on me to perform at my best so they can walk the streets and be proud,” Michael Holding (pictured), one of the greatest West Indian fast bowlers, recalled in “Fire in Babylon”, a new book on Caribbean cricket.

On September 30th, West Indies cricket hit a new low. For the first time ever, the side failed to qualify for the Champions Trophy, a one-day international (ODI) tournament played between the top eight ranked sides in the world. Two days earlier coach Phil Simmons had been suspended for expressing his disapproval with the team selected for the current ODI series in Sri Lanka.    Continue reading