Double delight - West Indies men and women earn high praises after thrilling T20 victories
Caribbean pride was on full display yesterday after the West Indies men's and women's senior cricket teams scored historic and dramatic victories to crown themselves champions at the World Twenty20 tournament in India.
For the women's team, it was their first T20 World Cup win, while their male counterparts became the first to win the title twice.
Prime minister of Grenada and chairman of the CARICOM Subcommittee on Cricket Governance, Dr Keith Mitchell, was full of praise for both teams, citing their ability to remain focused despite what he described as "daunting adversities on and off the field".
"The Caribbean teams maintained their focus and executed with skill, composure and pride to deliver to an expectant and grateful region some of the most memorable victories in West Indies cricketing history and indeed the most memorable in recent times," Mitchell said in a statement released by his office.
Jamaica's sport minister, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, hailed the women's team's eight-wicket victory over defending champions Australia as "another giant step" forward and a great moment for women in sport, particularly in the Caribbean.
Grange singled out team captain, Jamaican Stafanie Taylor, who she said grew up in the community of Gordon Pen, in her St Catherine Central constituency.
"As the first woman to lead the West Indies ladies to their first-ever world title, she's now part of history that can never be eclipsed. I will be resuscitating and fast-tracking plans for the Stafanie Taylor Oval at Eltham High School," Grange said.
The minister acknowledged that, like most cricket fans across the region, she, too, was nervous as the men's team started the final over needing 19 runs en route to their four-wicket victory over England.
"Overall, this team has proven throughout the tournament that they are true and worthy champions, and it's a victory most deserving for the entire region and all West Indians around the world," she said.
Former Jamaican sports minister Natalie Neita-Headley said both victories were clear signs that the passion for West Indies cricket has not died, despite issues faced by the board and the players.
"With a little more coming together, we can truly expect a resurgence that will translate from the two forms of the limited over game to Test cricket," Neita-Headley said.
The West Indies Players Association and the organisers of the Caribbean Premier League also had high praise for both teams.
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