While experts are predicting that a few of the top-ranked ODI sides will lift world cricket's most coveted prize at Lord's on July 14, there is someone who believes that a low-ranked team will lift the coveted trophy. Yes, you have heard it right. The 8th-ranked side will emerge triumphant at Lord's for a record third time in four World Cup final appearances, according to veteran West Indian all-rounder Darren Sammy. There are no prizes for guessing that Sammy is backing his own team to win the competition.
Sammy, who led West Indies to two ICC World T20 triumphs in 2012 & 2016, respectively believes that West Indies will win their third World Cup in England for Chris Gayle who will be bidding adieu to ODI Cricket after this year's quadrennial event. Speaking on the ICC Cricket World Cup Preview show, the former West Indian skipper said that he had a stronger feeling that West Indies will lift the World Cup as this is to be Gayle's swansong on the biggest stage and that the 'Universe Boss' would want to leave with a bang.
However, the 'Calypso Boys' have not had a good outing in ODI cricket since the past few years. Recently, they were seen in action in a tri-series in Ireland where they were involved with the hosts Ireland, West Indies and Bangladesh. West Indies made the finals, but were beaten by Bangladesh who also went on to win their maiden multi-nation ODI trophy.
At the same time, Sammy's words cannot be taken for granted as history says that the teams who were written off by everyone went on to make history by lifting the biggest prize in World Cricket. West Indies themselves were at the receiving end when India had caused a huge upset back in 1983. Another example is Sri Lanka who went on to stun the cricketing world as Arjuna Ranatunga led them to their maiden World Cup triumph in 1996.
It has been 40 years since the West Indies last won the ODI World Cup. They had won the first two editions in 1975 and 1979 respectively under the leadership of Clive Lloyd. They were the runners-up in 1983. However, since then, their best performance in the World Cup was in the 1996 edition where they had made it to the semifinals under Richie Richardson's captaincy.
West Indies begin their World Cup campaign against Pakistan at Trent Bridge on May 31.