The West Indies will not be in the 2023 Men's Cricket World Cup. For those of us over the age of 40 it's scarecly believable.  Imagine someone telling you in the 1980s or 1990s that there would come a time when Afghanistan would be playing in the World Cup but the West Indies wouldn't. You'd be calling for the men in white coats.

But it's happened. First the Netherlands beat them in one of the most amazing ODI's of all time, then Scotland were dominant over them yesterday to knock them out.

The reaction had started even before the loss to Scotland. A popular West Indies cricket podcast had an episode about the death of West Indies cricket up within hours of the Netherlands match. A writer for the Cricketer magazine was saying that a World Cup without the West Indies would be a diminished World Cup.

The responses are related to a refrain you hear a lot - cricket needs a strong West Indies. But why?

Contrast this with football. Hungary haven't qualified for the men's World Cup since 1986. If you'd have told someone that in the 1950s they would have reacted in similar fashion to our hypothetical cricket fan in the 1980s/90s being told that West Indies wouldn't qualify for a World Cup in the future. Because in the 1950s Hungary were one of the best teams in the world. Their win over England at Wembley in 1953 is considered one of the watershed moments in international football.

But there are no journalists bemoaning the absence of Hungary from the World Cup. Nobody saying that the World Cup is diminished by their absence. Nobody saying "football needs a strong Hungary". More recently, Italy hasn't qualified for either of the two World Cups. But the tournament hasn't been diminished by their absence. It may have been diminished by the choice of hosts, but that's another conversation entirely.

In football teams are allowed to decline, and teams are allowed to rise to replace them. It's a healthy international game. But the West Indies aren't allowed to decline. Cricket needs a strong West Indies, it needs the West Indies in the World Cup because it is not a healthy game. Its archaic governance model means that the West Indies have to remain at the top, and no teams can be allowed to replace them.

This is the real tragedy of West Indian cricket. It's not dead, it's a terminally ill patient being kept alive through outside intervention.

Right at this moment, some West Indian players are back home preparing for the visit of India for a tour consisting of two Tests, three ODIs and five T20Is. England will tour in December, and they'll be in Australia in the new year.

Scotland's next five T20Is aren't against India. They're against Germany, Jersey, Italy, Austria and Denmark in the European qualifier for the T20 World Cup - a tournament West Indies are hosting and hence have automatic entry to. Even now, the West Indies are better placed to qualify for the expanded 2027 World Cup than Scotland are.

The only full member Scotland have on their fixture list is Ireland in the aforementioned T20 qualifier. They have no confirmed fixtures beyond this month. They're not part of the World Test Championship, they're not part of the Future Tours Programme, they don't know their pathway to the 2027 World Cup and their players aren't getting big money deals in the IPL.

West Indian cricket won't die. The ICC won't - can't as its currently constituted - let it. And that's the real issue here.