Colombo, Oct 8 (IANS) The West Indies, crowned Twenty20 world champions Sunday night, are a multi-national side representing a confederation of 15 mainly English-speaking Caribbean countries and not one nation like other cricket-playing nations.
The 15 nations the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has on its rolls are: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Anguilla, Monteserrat, British Virgin Island, US virgin Island and Sint Maarten.
"Many Islands, One Nation", a slogan used by the people of the Caribbean, has come to characterise them. The West Indies, which many people think is a country, in fact comprises several islands in the Caribbean Sea region.
There are over 3,000 islands in all that are situated mostly to south and slightly east of Florida, east of Central America and Southern Mexico, and north of South America.
Some of these islands are located in the Caribbean Sea, while others form a bridge between the Caribbean and the North Atlantic Ocean.
There are three main island groups in the West Indies: the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles.
The history of the West Indies cricket team traces back to the 1890s, when the first representative sides played the visiting English teams. The West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) joined the sport's international ruling body, the Imperial Cricket Conference, in 1926 and played their first official Test in 1928, thus becoming the fourth Test-playing nation.
Most cricketing nations use their national flags, but the West Indies have no natural choice of a flag since the team represents a number of independent and dependent states.
The WICB has, therefore, designed a flag with an insignia showing a palm tree and cricket stumps on a sunny island. This insignia, on a maroon background, is the West Indies flag.
Prior to 1999, the WICB had used a similar insignia featuring a palm tree and an island, though there were no stumps and instead of the sun there was the constellation Orion.
The West Indies have won the ICC Cricket World Cup twice, in 1975 and 1979, the ICC Champions Trophy once, in 2004, before winning the ICC World Twenty20 for the first time Sunday.