Jamaica’s rich cricketing history spans decades. From the years of ‘Black Bradman’ George Headley to ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle, through legendary fast-bowlers Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh and many more, the island nation has blessed the game with some of its finest exponents. Sadly, cricket in the Caribbean island doesn’t throb with the same life force it once used to. There are many reasons for their sudden decline, but revenue is perhaps a primary cause of stasis in Caribbean cricket. This is not a story exclusive to West Indies cricket but points to a malaise affecting cricketing nations lying outside the Big 3.

It is precisely for this reason bilateral series’ involving the three wealthiest cricket nations, especially India, have become so lucrative. This was admitted as much by Wilfred Billy Heaven, President of the Jamaican Cricket Association. Speaking at an event hosted for President Ram Nath Kovind, Heaven admitted to ANI:

“Whenever India play any match in Caribbean, a lot of people see those matches between India and West Indies. We make the most money whenever Team India come here to play and it’s our biggest income stream at Cricket West Indies.”

President Kovind, who is on a four-day tour of the Caribbean, presented 100 kits to the Jamaican Cricket Association to cement closer cricketing ties between the two nations. Heaven hopes this helps pave a future in cricket for many of the game’s young enthusiasts on the island. “Students over here are interested in playing but it’s quite expensive. After this, you may see a lot of young cricketers coming from Jamaica. They will be playing in IPL, as currently 17 Caribbean players are playing IPL, out of which four are from Jamaica. This will strengthen the bond between India and Jamaica,” he added.

With India next due in the Caribbean in July, one expects a little less hospitality from the West Indians on the cricket field.