In the second episode of Wisden and CricViz‘s The Greatest T20 podcast, Freddie Wilde, CricViz analyst and co-author of Cricket 2.0: Inside the T20 Revolution, highlighted how the West Indies T20I side formed the first-ever dynasty in the shortest format of the sport.
While in conversation with former West Indies captain Darren Ganga and Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast host Yas Rana, Wilde emphasised how the Caribbean side modified the way teams around the world approached T20s.
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“What they’ve done in T20 cricket is that they have essentially formed the first T20 International dynasty,” said Wilde. “A dynasty which is comparable to, in many ways, the dynasty that their Test side created in the Eighties and early Nineties.
“They’ve produced many of the format’s greatest players. Last week we spoke about [Chris] Gayle and Kieron Pollard. Then you can go through and like we discussed Andre Russell too last week, Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine.
“These guys, who’ve been the leading figures of the first era of T20 cricket. And all of that stuff that Daren talked about how the Caribbean got a leg up on the rest of the world. They were among the first sides to take it seriously, and the first side to train properly for it.
“And tied in with (what Daren said around) the natural athleticism of the Caribbean cricketers. That all culminated, firstly for Trinidad and Tobago, in the Stanford competition and Champions League, and then moving into the World Cup. Starting in 2012 with their first title, and most recently in 2016 with their second title. And as a result, two World Cups, which as you said no other side has won twice in T20 cricket. So they’re definitely in the discussion as one of the great T20 sides.”
More than their triumphs, it’s the manner in which they approached the format and revolutionised aspects of it that made them the first great T20 side. “One of the really interesting things about the West Indies, is not only about what they’ve won, but how they’ve done it,” Wilde said. “They brought a very distinctive style of T20 cricket, one that has had a huge influence on the game. Gayle, I believe, has sort of been the totem for that.
“The prioritisation of boundary hitting, the power-hitting. They might play more dot balls than the other side, but they’ll often hit more boundaries.
“It’s not only what they’ve achieved in terms of titles, it’s the way that the game is played. And that is the impact this West Indian side has. We’re talking about greatest teams and they’ve won two trophies, but it’s the way they’ve done it that really stands out.”