The wife of former prime minister of St Kitts and Nevis was among the handful of West Indies supporters at the Premadasa Stadium on Sunday. While everyone in the stands had given up on the Calypso boys within 10 overs of the start, she did not give up hope.
The spectators could
not be blamed as, in recent times, they have seen the maroon army collapse with alarming regularity. But the former PM's wife knew this team had a lot of steel.
But once the Lankan batting started falling apart, she indulged in a jig even as the stadium watched the great West Indian revival in stunned silence.
If the lady is to be believed, Darren Sammy's boys had watched the movie, Fire in Babylon, umpteenth number of times and were inspired by it.
They are a long way off from emulating the Lloyds and the Richards but the victory in the World Twenty20 has shown definite signs of revival of cricket in the Caribbean.
The standout feature of the win was their never-say-die attitude. During their dreadful run in the last two decades, the world saw the Calypso boys entertain sporadically with their acts of individual brilliance and flamboyance, but as a team, they lacked the spirit.
In a way it was good that the World T20 final was not won on the power of Chris Gayle's blade, otherwise this tournament's success would have counted for little. It was the fight shown by the lesser lights, which was the most important aspect of the performance.
The Lankans were shocked but they acknowledged that the West Indies were deserving winners.
There were no hard feelings in Mahela Jayawardene's voice when he praised the winners. "We knew that they had four or five big guys who could change the game for them --- Gayle, Narine, Samuels, Pollard. We had to make sure that we controlled those situations, which we did to an extent but it's just the quality of the opposition. (Of course) we have to take some blame, but due credit to them for playing a good game in a big final," said Jayawardene.
The victory was all the more special for Sammy, Gayle and Samuels. They were the pillars of the Caribbean side. Gayle looked unstoppable till the final, Samuels came good when it mattered, and in Sammy, the West Indies have a captain who can keep the side together.
"Over the last year or so, we've been showing that never-say-die attitude, but we've not been winning. But here we've won. Everyone who came here believed he could do the job," said Sammy, who has had to answer repeated queries about his place in the side.
"Anyone can have an opinion about me. It's been like that from the time I started playing cricket. I like that. Once I wear this crest, I wear it on my heart. If I don't have a good day, I sulk. I'll come the next day and try and put in a better performance. I don't play for glory. I play for the Caribbean people," the captain said.
The past few years have also been tough for Gayle and Samuels.
Gayle was out of the team for long following his differences with his board and Samuels had to serve a two-year ban for actions that could bring the game into disrepute.
"Those were tough times. I tried to let them pass. Being under pressure on a cricket field is nothing compared to what I've been through off it. My mentor always told me, 'everything that happened to me in life is because I'm important'. I'm not someone who will give up. And I have a family, which believes in me."
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