WI chase legacy on England tour – Jamaica Observer

West Indies’ Shamar Joseph (fourth left) celebrates after taking the wicket of Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne during day one of the first cricket Test match between Australia and West Indies at Adelaide Oval in Adelaide on January 17, 2024.(Photo: AFP)

The West Indies go into the first Test cricket match against England at Lord’s this week as underdogs. Led by Kraigg Braithwaite, they are hunting their first series win in that country in 36 years.

Forty years ago, the roles were reversed. A formidable West Indies team, captained by Clive Lloyd, swept England 5-0 in what was dubbed a ‘blackwash’ by the Caribbean community in the United Kingdom.

It was one of many high points during the 1980s for the West Indies, which lost only one series that decade — an acrimonious 0-1 defeat to New Zealand in 1980.

Jeffrey Dujon was wicketkeeper/batsman on the 1984 tour, which he remembers as “strenuous”. Since making his Test debut against Australia in 1981, he had established himself in a powerful side that beat England 1-0 on their previous tour in 1980.

The West Indies defeated Australia 3-0 at home before heading to the UK where they also played three One-Day Internationals, which they won 2-1. Highlight of the limited overs matches was a majestic 189 by Vivian Richards at Old Trafford.

Lloyd, opening batsmen Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, solid middle-order batsman Larry Gomes, rising stars Richie Richardson and Gus Logie, and Dujon, comprised an imposing batting line-up. Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Eldine Baptiste, Courtney Walsh, Winston Davis and Milton Small were the fast bowlers, with offspinner Roger Harper their capable backup and Thelston Payne, Dujon’s understudy.

Although their ranks included champion allrounder Ian Botham, the classy left-handed strokeplayer David Gower, and pugnacious middle-order batsman Alan Lamb, England’s cricket was in decline. Their attack was led by Botham, and aging fastbowler, and Captain Bob Willis, but lacked the firepower to trouble the vaunted Windies batting.

For Dujon, the bowling and batting of Marshall and Greenidge were highlights of the tour. Both played for Hampshire in the English County Championship.

Greenidge, who spent many of his formative years in England, scored most runs (572) that summer including two centuries. Gomes also scored two hundreds, tallying 400 runs.

Marshall captured 24 wickets in four Tests, including an heroic seven for 53 (bowling with a broken thumb) in the second innings at Headingley when England were routed for 153 in their second innings.

“That performance stands alone, his bowling on that tour was amazing, out of this world. It epitomised how great he was,” said Dujon. “He was the greatest fast bowler I played with and possibly against. He obviously had a lot of experience in English conditions with Hampshire, and he really gave the English batsmen a hard time.”

Joel Garner, who played for Somerset in the English County Championship, was the most successful bowler with 29 wickets in five Tests. Richards had a below par series, scoring 250 runs in seven innings, including a century and half-century.

Dujon, who scored 103 at Old Trafford in the third Test, remembers the West Indies receiving overwhelming support from the UK’s massive Caribbean community “everywhere we went”. British journalist Ronald McIntosh, whose parents are Jamaican, recaptured the team’s victory in his 2014 radio documentary, Blackwash & Me, which commemorated its 30th anniversary.

“As a son of Jamaican parents growing up in 1980s England, it is impossible to overstate the pivotal role that Clive Lloyd’s team played in igniting my enduring passion for sport; a passion which underpins my occupation to this day,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “But more than mere sportsmen, the West Indian cricket team of that period served to symbolise something far greater than the outcome of a contest on the field. In an era of apartheid South Africa — and with the inequality of colonialism, US segregation and Jim Crow still within living memory — the West Indian cricket team embodied excellence.”

The West Indies, captained by Richards, drubbed England 5-0 when they toured the Caribbean two years later. In 1988, the Antiguan was still at the helm when the West Indies toured England, winning the five-Test series 4-0.

On the 2000 tour, England led by Nasser Hussain, defeated the Jimmy Adams-captained West Indies 3-1 in a five-Test series. It was England’s first series win over the West Indies in 31 years.

The last West Indies tour of England took place in the summer of 2020. England won that three-Test series 2-1.

West Indies have fared better against England at home, winning the 2009 and 2019 series 1-0 and 2-1, respectively.

Test cricket, as well as West Indian and British societies, have transformed since the 1984 tour. The game is no longer king in the Caribbean, but a flurry of stars including Andy Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, and an exciting style of play known as Bazball, have won the sport younger fans in the UK.

Jeffrey Dujon, who played the last of his 81 Tests against England in 1991, credits West Indian pride and professionalism for the 5-0 victory 40 years ago.

“We always played to win and our attitude was different than England. They played not to lose, if they got a chance to win, they would be a little more aggressive,” he said. “We won because of the attitude we had and the great cricket we played.”

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