History of West Indies Cricket
It all began in the 1880s when the first combined West Indian team was formed and toured Canada and the United States. In the 1890s, the first representative sides were selected to play visiting English sides. Administered by the West Indies Cricket Board (“WICB”), and known colloquially as The Windies, the West Indies cricket team represents a sporting confederation of English-speaking Caribbean countries.
The WICB joined the sport’s international ruling body, the Imperial Cricket Council, in 1926, and played their first official international match, which in cricket is called a Test, in 1928. Although blessed with some great players in their early days as a Test nation, their successes remained sporadic until the 1960s, by which time the side had changed from a white-dominated to a black-dominated side. By the late 1970s, the West Indies had a side recognised as unofficial world champions, a title they retained throughout the 1980s. Their team from the 1970s and 1980s is now widely regarded as having been one of the best in test cricket’s history, alongside Don Bradman‘s Invincibles.
During these glory years, the Windies were noted for their four-man fast bowling attack, backed up by some of the best batsmen in the world. The 1980s saw them set a then-record streak of 11 consecutive Test victories in 1984, which was part of a still-standing record of 27 tests without defeat (the other tests being draws), as well as inflicting two 5–0 “blackwashes” against the old enemy of England. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, however, West Indian cricket declined, in part due to the rise in popularity of athletics and football in West Indian countries, and the team today is struggling to regain its past glory.
In their early days in the 1930s, the side represented the British colonies of the West Indies Federation plus British Guyana. The current side represents the now independent states of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, and the British dependencies of Anguilla, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands along with the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Maarten.