The 2023 World Cup qualifiers produced a stunning result on Saturday as West Indies, the two-time champions at the marquee global tournament, lost to Scotland, thus failing to qualify for the main event in India.
The Windies faced a seven-wicket loss to the Scottish side, which ensured they won't play in the ODI World Cup for the first time in their rich cricketing history. West Indies were winners of the inaugural World Cup in 1975, and had successfully defended their title four years later.
At the turn of the century, however, West Indies cricket suffered a downfall in the fifty-over format with some of their star performers retiring one after the other. A lack of consistency in their performances and over-reliance on players like Brian Lara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chris Gayle, and Ramnaresh Sarwan meant the Windies couldn't emerge as solid contenders at the tournament.
Even in their home World Cup in 2007 – which was Lara's last appearance for the Caribbean side – West Indies were knocked out in the Super 8 stage, winning only two of their seven matches. The side qualified for the quarter-finals in the 2011 and 2015 editions, while in the ten-team 2019 World Cup, the side finished a dismal 9th.
Following their elimination in the World Cup qualifiers, the side's all-rounder Jason Holder highlighted the issues grappling West Indies cricket.
"It's (cricket) not an individual thing or a territorial thing. We've got to come together as a region... and really, really think about how we want to go forward as a group and make it happen," Holder, one of the world's top all-rounders, said during the post-match press conference.
"We knew what was at stake and we still had a chance to qualify. We had a really good opportunity to play Scotland and beat them (but) we didn't do that."
Calling the elimination the "lowest point" of their cricket, Holder said that a quick-fix won't solve the issues and urged the West Indies cricket to focus on grassroot levels.
"This is probably one of the lowest points I've had with the team. But, you know, there are still a lot of positives. I was really happy for Nicholas Pooran, the way he played through this entire competition. And, it's good to see some of the younger guys get an opportunity on the big stage.
"It's not a quick-fix, it's something we need to spend time on. As I said, development (at grassroots) is the most important thing, where we can just put things in place and develop our talent. Hopefully, in the next couple of years we can see the fruits of that crop," said Holder.