3 minutes reading time (651 words)

West Indies must believe

The team must make believers of the rest of the region, too. They carry a lot on their shoulders: history, expectations, and memories. Now is not the time to look back. Just deal with the Boults and citizen Kane(s) and with dispatch and the usual flair. Can be done. Be a believer today.

Bangladesh has not given up, as it eyes a place in the semis; if not they, then why should the once mighty, the once feared, the still watched West Indies that jangles nerves? Starts with an unrelenting self-belief that fuels a peculiar, but endearing kind of machismo in the world of sport. Listen.
“A night like tonight doesn’t happen without belief in myself.” There it is; and that was Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors in a close clash with the Houston Rockets during the road to the NBA Finals. Not quite do or die, but close enough to bring out that indefinable attitude and cultivated indomitable degree of self-belief.
This can happen. It is possible. It can be made to BEND TO THE WILL even when there is falling short by a whisker. How the battle was fought.
Andy Ruiz is now the first ever Mexican World Heavyweight champion in one of the great upsets in boxing fabled history after dismantling Anthony Joshua and wresting his crown. The road of the underdog is shaky, fragile, dangerous, disappointing and, all too often, littered with failure. Just don’t tell that the new Mexican World Heavyweight champion right now.
In 1999, in Barcelona Spain, Manchester United went on to emerge victorious in the UEFA Champions League finals against Bayern Munich. What made this victory remarkable was that United came back from a goal down in the last two minutes of injury time, to score twice and stun their opponents and the football world. Never say never has to be motto and lodestar.
This is where the youthful West Indies cricket team is poised now, as it prepares to face one of the stealthier juggernauts in world cricket, New Zealand, at Old Trafford today. The players and coaches must remember that stirring triumph of the 1999 Manchester (local) team.
They should recall the majestic 189 scored by one Viv Richards at that same venue in a 1984 ODI; AND Gordon Greenidge’s 223 and Roger Harper’s 6 for 57 in the Fourth Test in 1984 right there; AND the immortal Malcolm Marshall’s 7 for 22 in the Third test in 1988 in the same place, with the same winning result.
The players are there. Their heads must get there with them, too: sensible cricket. Hard cricket. Power and nuanced cricket. Slick and fast, nasty if that is what it takes. But, with regards to the latter, in the highest traditions of sportsmanship and honour on the fields of battle.
With Plan A, the fallback of another dimension, and then finding what is not there. It can come in the heat of battle, despite the wet and winless campaigns that slipped out of the grasp.
“The year outside has made me hungry -Warner” (espncricinfo.com -June 21). That is one angry, motivated man; a wise one, too. Letting his game take away the pain, wash away the shame. The West Indies have been away too long–an eternity of years–from the big time of the winners’ circle in the biggest tournament of champions of the sport.
They can be a champion this time. Have to believe in themselves, in the plan, in the execution. The tools are there; so, too, must be the temperament. Are they hungry enough? They have to possess and stoke that fire that flare from not having, but wanting furiously. Find a length; walk a line; bat and bowl, as though life itself depended upon it: one more heartbeat for one more herculean effort. Time to get up; to rise up; to go out and be a champion today. Today!

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