The West Indian cricket team, also known colloquially as The Windies or The West Indies, is a multi-national cricket team representing a sporting confederation of a dozen English-speaking Caribbean countries and British dependencies that form the British West Indies.
From the mid 1970s to the early 1990s the West Indies team was one of the strongest in the world in both Test and One Day International cricket. A number of cricketers considered among the best in the world have hailed from the West Indies; Gary Sobers, Lance Gibbs, Gordon Greenidge, George Headley, Clive Lloyd, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts and Everton Weekes have all been inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame, while world-record holders Brian Lara and Sir Viv Richards were both West Indies Test players. As of 19 June 2009, the West Indian team has played 457 Test matches, winning 33.26%, losing 32.38% and drawing 34.13% of its games. The West Indies have won the ICC Cricket World Cup twice (1975 and 1979), the ICC Champions Trophy once in 2004 and have been runners up in the U19 Cricket world cup in 2004 and have been semi finalist in the ICC T/20 World Cup in 2009.
The history of the West Indies cricket team began in the 1890s, when the first representative sides were selected to play visiting English sides. The WICB joined the sport's international ruling body, the Imperial Cricket Conference, in 1926, and played their first official international match, granted Test status, in 1928 thus becoming the fourth Test nation. Although blessed with some great players in their early days as a Test nation, their successes remained sporadic until the 1960s, by which time the side had changed from a white-dominated to a black-dominated side. By the 1970s, the West Indies had a side recognized as unofficial world champions, a reputation they retained throughout the 1980s. During these glory years, the Windies were noted for their four-man fast bowling attack, backed up by some of the best batsmen in the world. The 1980s saw them set a then-record streak of 11 consecutive Test victories in 1984 and inflict two 5–0 "blackwashes" against the old enemy of England. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, however, West Indian cricket declined, largely due to the failure of the West Indian Cricket Board to move the game from an amateur pastime to a professional sport coupled with the general economic decline in West Indian countries, and the team today is struggling to regain its past glory. The West Indies are currently ranked 8th out of the 10 Test playing nations, and 7th in the one-day international rankings, which likewise only cover the 10 Test playing nations.
Most cricketing nations use their own national flags for cricketing purposes. However, as the West Indies represent a number of independent and dependent states, there is no natural choice of flag. The WICB has therefore developed an insignia showing a palm tree and cricket stumps on a small sunny island. This insignia, on a maroon background, makes up the West Indian flag. The background sometimes has a white stripe above a green stripe, which is separated by a maroon stripe, passing horizontally through the middle of the background.