Why West Indians excel in T20 cricket

Image courtesy Twitter account of Sunil Narine
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It is an undeniable fact that players from the different islands in the West Indies have been a big part of the IPL from its very beginning.

Players like Chris Gayle, Keiron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, and Sunil Narine have all left an indelible mark on the sport.

It is also quite safe to say that West Indian players are really good in the IPL and T20 cricket in general.

There must be a reason why this small cricketing nation has been able to produce some of the greatest IPL players ever. A

s it turns out, there is more than one reason for this and that is what we are going to analyze today.

Smaller Grounds help Big-hitting

Contrary to popular belief, West Indies isn’t a single nation but it is a combination of a few island nations.

As space is often at a premium in these islands, the cricket grounds tend to be smaller in comparison to the rest of the cricketing world.

As such young West Indians who grow up playing cricket on these smallish grounds tend to lean towards power hitting. From a very young age, the emphasis is put on scoring runs as quickly as possible.

Strike rate takes precedence over things like the average runs scored and the number of not outs.

While this has made them a weaker cricketing force in the longer formats of the game, they have become perfectly suited for T20 cricket and for the world of IPL.

It is all about scoring runs quickly without wasting balls and the West Indians have been virtually training for that their whole lives.

This also makes them familiar with large run chases and high required run rates which renders them better prepared for high-pressure situations that are very common in the world of IPL.

They would rather score runs through sixes and fours than run singles and doubles and this approach seems to work really well in T20 cricket. 

Bowlers Are Forced To Be More Economical Against Big Hitters

Cricket isn’t just about the batsmen.

The bowlers play a role just as important in the IPL.

While batting is usually the focus among the West Indian nations, they still need bowlers and these bowlers have to come up with innovating ways of bowling to batsmen who are constantly looking to go big.

This has resulted in guys like Sunil Narine developing a bowling style that is highly suited for the world of IPL cricket.

They seem to have the knack for containing some of the most explosive batsmen even on tracks that are batting-friendly.

Nurturing Ground For Versatility

Almost every West Indian cricketer is also great at being a good all-rounder.

Most of them are also very athletic on the field. This makes them invaluable to IPL teams.

They can help with adding depth to the batting line-up and a lot of bowling options which makes them excellent prospects for any team.

This is a result of a mindset among the cricketers from West Indies that they should not restrict themselves to just a single discipline.

They don’t have to be great at everything but their batsmen generally know how to bowl a couple of overs and their bowlers know how to knock the ball around at a high scoring rate.

This makes them incredibly useful in the realm of the IPL.  

The General Approach To Cricket In The West Indies

The general approach to cricket and life in general in the West Indies is very much conducive to T20 cricket.

It is about staying cool and quickly moving on to the next thing without dwelling over any particular setback for too long.

This is again important during a long tournament such as the IPL.

These players do not get bogged down by a poor result and instead are able to quickly move their focus on to the next match which is critical to prolonged success.

The Lack Of A Lucrative Cricket Board

While the first generation of IPL superstars from West Indies set the ball rolling, things really got a push when other T20 leagues started to crop up around the world.

While few of them were as lucrative as the IPL, the cricketers were suffering from a huge problem back home.

There were regular pay disputes with the West Indian board and cricket in the islands wasn’t as lucrative as it was in the rest of the world.

There were few spots nationally and most of the talent from the island countries had to look outside to find financially viable options.

An overwhelming majority of them turned towards the financially attractive world of T20 league cricket from around.

Many of them even began to take a break from their international careers to focus on this.

While this was detrimental to the cricketing scene in West indies especially in the longer formats of the game, it has made them incredibly adept at T20 cricket.

Many of them play hundreds of T20 matches all through the year and this constant practice is what ultimately makes them such great components of the fast-paced IPL landscape.

Cover image credit: Sunil Narine