Cricket and the West Indies share a very special relation. From the early years of the game that saw their golden generation dominate the world stage – winning the World Cup titles in 1975 and 1979 – to the 90s when the likes of Brian Lara, Carl Hooper and Ian Bishop tormented the opposition, and then the entertainers in Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell, the team from the Caribbean have never fallen short on lighting up the field.

This charm has been on the forefront in the World Cup too. So as another edition of the quadrennial extravaganza nears, we look back to the time when it all started for the ‘Calypso Kings’.

The West Indies teams of the late seventies and eighties were the powerhouse of international cricket. The team had all the ingredients to reach the lofty heights they achieved. Such was their dominance in the Test arena that from 1981 to 1994, that the Windies didn’t lose a single Test series. The Windies dominated the ODI arena too with their firm hold on the first two World Cups and reaching the final of the third at Lords in 1983, only to be beaten by the then underdogs India.

Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes were the most formidable opening pair for a decade. Sir Vivian Richards took batting to another level with his destructive stroke play and aggressive attitude, thus becoming the ‘poster boy’ of Windies cricket. The team had a brilliant leader, able batsman and astute captain in Clive Lloyd who proved to be the ideal mentor for fine-tuning the skills and talent of a team full of superstars.

But what really set Windies apart from rest, was their fearsome pace battery of Colin Croft, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Andy Roberts and Malcolm Marshall, each unique in their own sense. If Garner and Roberts were the big burly seamers who extracted bounce from the wicket, Holding was menacingly quick with one of the smoothest actions ever.

While the current crop doesn’t even look like the shadow of their great forefathers, it’s the Caribbean spirit that they have rode on for years to entertain many at the grandest stage of all – the World Cup. And come June, we will be expecting nothing less from the Calypso Kings.