The West Indies cricket team, administered by Cricket West Indies, is a multi-nation unit representing the Anglophone Caribbean region. The players in this composite team are selected from a chain of fifteen Caribbean territories that are part of different countries and dependencies.
From the middle of 1970s to the early 1990s, the West Indies team was easily the world’s strongest in both Test and One Day International (ODI) cricket. A number of cricketers considered all-time greats — Sir Garfield Sobers, Brian Lara, Clive Lloyd, Malcolm Marshall, Sir Curtly Ambrose, Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh and Sir Viv Richards — came from the West Indies.
The West Indies have won the ICC Cricket World Cup twice (1975 and 1979), the ICC World Twenty20 twice (2012 and 2016), the ICC Champions Trophy once (2004), and the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup once (2016). They finished as runners-up in one World Cup (1983), one Under 19 Cricket World Cup (2004), and one ICC Champions Trophy (2006). The West Indies appeared in three consecutive World Cup finals (1975, 1979 and 1983), and were the first team to win back-to-back World Cups (1975 and 1979). The West Indies have hosted the 2007 Cricket World Cup and the 2010 ICC World Twenty20.
West Indies at ICC World Cups
The Clive Llyod-led West Indies team defeated Australia in the inaugural World Cup final in 1975 at Lord's by 17 runs to become the first World Cup winners. Then, they went on to defend the title in 1979 under the captaincy of Sir Viv Richards, beating hosts England in the final. The side stopped short of winning the title a third time as Kapil Dev-led India defeated them in the 1983 World Cup final.
In the 1987 and 1992 World Cups, the side failed to proceed beyond the group stage, but they managed to reach the semi-finals in the 1996 World Cup. The side had a disappointing performance in 1999, 2003 and 2007 editions of the World Cup, but they improved their performance in 2011 to reach the quarterfinals. In the 2015 edition, too, the West Indies made to the quarterfinals.
The history of the West Indies cricket team began in the 1890s, when the first representative sides were selected to play visiting English sides. The West Indies Cricket Board joined the sport's international ruling body, the Imperial Cricket Conference, in 1926, and played their first official international match in 1928 and received the Test status the same year to become the fourth Test-playing nation.
The last series the West Indies played before the outbreak of the Second World War was against England in 1939. There followed a hiatus that lasted until January 1948, when the MCC toured the West Indies.
Although blessed with some great players in their early days as a Test team, their successes remained sporadic until the 1960s, when the mix changed from a white-dominated to black-dominated side.
By the late 1970s, the West Indies, led by Clive Lloyd, were a side recognised as unofficial world champions, a reputation they retained throughout the 1980s.
During these glory years, the West Indies were noted for their four-man fast-bowling attack, backed up by some of the best batsmen in the world. The 1980s saw the team setting a then-record streak of 11 consecutive Test victories in 1984 and inflicting two 5-0 "blackwashes" on England.
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, however, the West Indian cricket declined, largely owing to the failure of the West Indian Cricket Board to move the game from an amateur pastime to a professional sport. This was coupled by a general economic decline in West Indian countries.
Victory in the 2004 Champions Trophy and a runner-up showing in the 2006 Champions Trophy left some hopeful, but it was not until the inception of Twenty20 cricket that the West Indies began to regain a place among the cricketing elite. They developed ranks of players capable of taking over games with their power hitting; these included Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Andre Russell and Carlos Brathwaite. They beat Australia and then host Sri Lanka in the 2012 World Twenty20 to win their first ICC world championship since the 1979 World Cup and then bested England to win the 2016 World Twenty20, becoming the first team to win the World Twenty20 twice. As a bonus, the West Indies also became the first team to win both the men's and women's World Twenty20 on the same day. The women's West Indies team had beaten three-time defending champions Australia for their first ICC world title immediately beforehand.