Cricket drought is a term defining when a team has not won a match in years. And this applied to the West Indies in their matches against Australia. So what has been the history, perception and current results?
West Indies and Australia have a long history of men’s cricket test series going back to 1930/31. Two other series were played in 1951/52 and 1955, with Australia winning all three. In 1960/61 the Frank Worrell Trophy was established for the West Indies versus Australia tests.
During the period 1960 to 2024 there were 26 matches for the trophy, with Australia winning 15 times, West Indies 8 times and 3 draws. The 1992/93 test, 31years ago, was the last time the West Indies won the Frank Worrell Trophy.
Bajan born Frank Worrell was an exceptional all-around cricket player and captain of the West Indies international team from 1960 to 1963. Under his leadership the West Indies team achieved world cricket supremacy in the early 1960s. In 1964 Sir Frank Worrell was knighted for his contributions to cricket.
The West Indies squad, comprising of young and inexperienced players, arrived on December 30, 2023 to compete with Australia for the Frank Worrell Trophy. The team was greeted by the description as minnows with comments on how they could be helped to perform better. After all, it was 27 years of winning drought since the Windies had last triumphed in Oz.
Missing its former captain and rolling out four debutants, almost nobody gave the Windies a chance to push the world’s best test side in a two-game series. The first game was easily won by the home side and most thought it was a one-sided wash-over. Then unto the second game.
Shamar Joseph stunned the Aussies with two wickets in two balls to ignite the tourists and send panic coursing through the Australian line-up. Joseph, only able to play after scans on his injured toe revealed no break after he was forced to retire hurt on day four, starred with the ball. New Aussie opener Steve Smith did everything he could to steer his side to victory, carrying his bat through the fourth innings to score a brilliant 90 not out, but ultimately ran out of partners.
However after the cricket match the minnows might be more appropriately described as piranhas, so fantastic was their performance. Furthermore, this triumph might be attributed to a pirai from Demerara, to take the piscine analogy a stage further. Indeed the pirai or lau lau is a formidable catfish from the rivers of Guyana. So, shifting back to cricket it is well worth a comparison to the 6 for 78 score.
“I can’t explain it, to be fair,” Joseph said, having limped into the press conference with his player of the match medal around his neck and the Richie Benaud medal for player of the series firmly clasped in his grip. “Having people that believe in you, that gave me a lot of confidence.”
But back to the cricket drought. It is incredible to think that Shamar Joseph from Guyana capturing 5 wickets back-to-back in the present series, has challenged the previous record holder Curtly Ambrose (remember him?) from around 1993.
Naturally we won’t know what will happen next, but now that the Windies have some glory to bask in, let’s get straight into basking. And now that the metaphorical cricket drought of many years has broken we may be able to look forward to a period of powerful swimming by piranhas and pirai alike!
**Contribution by Bill Milne-Home**