ONE LAST HURRAH FOR UNIVERSE BOSS
Chris Gayle goes into his fifth World Cup in quite remarkable form for a batsman of increasing years, who evidently finds fielding something of an inconvenience.
Whether it be in the international arena or in the colours of his various T20 franchises, Gayle has been finding boundaries all over the world on a whim in recent months.
In England, he features for the final time on the top table... and he does so among a Windies team arriving at the tournament with renewed vigour. A fresh regime in the Caribbean has brought new ideas and new selection policies.
Back come the likes of Evin Lewis and Andre Russell to join forces with exciting talent such as Shimron Hetymer and Sheldon Cottrell. Once more, West Indies fans can realistically dream of glory.
ON THE RISE
While on paper, West Indies' results do not make for particularly happy reading over the past couple of years, they may tell a lie about the state of the team going into the tournament.
While series defeats both home and away to Bangladesh do not speak of a side with lofty ambitions at a World Cup, that was an old-era Windies. Even in the recent series against England - a 2-2 draw during which the batting looked devastating and bowling at times incisive - the hierarchy at the top of Cricket West Indies had not gone through the substantial change that it now has.
So yes, Windies have not won an ODI series since 2014, but no, that does not tell us an awful lot going into this summer's main event.
PRE-WC 2019 RESULTS (most recent first): LWLWWL-WLL
LUSTING AFTER THE 70S
West Indies often put their best foot forward in coloured clothing, as evidenced by their 2012 and 2016 World T20 titles, but those achievements have not been reinforced by their performances at the longer-format World Cup.
Their World Cup adventure could not have begun more emphatically, with two titles in the first two editions in 1975 and 1979 coming thanks to victories over Australia and England, before India took their eight-year crown off them in 1983 by beating them in the final at Lord’s.
However, since then, their semi-final appearance in 1996 has been their next best effort in eight editions.
The Windies were knocked out in the group stages in half of those, and a Super Eights finish when they hosted the tournament in 2007 was succeeded by quarter-final exits in 2011 and 2015 at the hands of Pakistan and New Zealand respectively.
WORLD CUP RECORD
1987: Group stages
1992: Group stages
1999: Group stages
2003: Group stages
2007: Super Eights