| A jubilant Chris Gayle with the trophy at The Oval on Saturday. (AFP)
The West Indies winning the ICC Champions Trophy not only suggests the rebirth of Caribbean cricket, but also redefines the status of the teams in the world. The West Indies' ability to assimilate and retain their traditional cricketing values had long vanished with some poor and uninspiring performances.
In the last decade, Caribbean cricket more or less depended on individual feats and records of geniuses like Brian Lara, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose and a few others.
The famous quadrate in Roberts, Holding, Marshall and Garner could only inspire to produce the two greats ' Ambrose and Walsh. After this, the West Indies failed to discover fast bowlers of same lethal quality, which made their team the most dreaded at one time.
This victory is vital to Caribbean cricket's sense of self-belief. The celebrations one witnessed on the ground after their victory was an ample evidence of how badly the West Indies needed this win.
Such a triumph can also lead to a transition towards becoming a better team. Winning a tournament of such magnitude will spring up a few long lasting players with real characters.
England coach Duncan Fletcher must be a worried man to see the team slip up from the position of strength. His plans for all other Windies players were executed perfectly, but it did not work when it came to Bradshaw and Courtney Browne, who were rather unknown names till this eventful Saturday evening. Even 217 was a winning score on a wicket, which seamed the whole day.
English bowlers must blame themselves in the end for the poor show. These are the same bowlers, who bowl in their English conditions day in and day out. But on Saturday, they committed the blunder of bowling as many as 25 extra balls in wides and no balls.
Although the West Indies too were guilty of committing the same mistake, the home conditions should have been better utilised by England. The England captain Michael Vaughan read the situation wrong in completing the quota of his strike bowlers in Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff.
England would have won the match had they not have bowled those extra balls. Flintoff, the world's best allrounder at the moment, failed with the bat but made amends with the ball in breaking the backbone of West Indies' batting. Not many in the West Indies dressing room expected to win after Flintoff's burst with the ball.
Bradshaw, a true allrounder in the making, showed tremendous determination to win the match along with Browne. Calm and collective, the duo showed what pressure can do to any bowling attack.
A bowling attack, which looked so menacing till the 42nd over, wilted under pressure and gave back the advantage to the batsmen. The partnership of 70 odd runs between Browne and Bradshaw was chanceless and it proved the authority with which they played the final overs. I hope the West Indies become a force to reckon with after this success.
The Champions Trophy had a lacklustre beginning, but a magnificent end. The hosts, however, could not break the jinx of never winning the World Cup or the Champions Trophy despite coming close many times. (PTI)