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What happened to the Windies?

The West Indies dominated cricket in the 1970s and 1980s, then fell into steep decline. As the islands prepare to host the one-day cricket World Cup, an English cricketer tries to find out what went wrong

By Ed Smith   March 2007

Writing in Wisden in 1986, at the peak of the Caribbean’s cricketing supremacy, David Frith argued that West Indies cricket had inspired the entire Afro-Caribbean people: “In the pre-war depression years, Don Bradman stood for the powers of endurance of the ordinary bloke. His triumphs brought pride and inspiration to the masses of struggling Australians in town and bush… For ten years now Viv Richards has done something similar for the black man.”

In that winter of 1985-86, England had endured a brutal 5-0 defeat on their tour of the Caribbean, having also been “blackwashed” at home in the summer…

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