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West Indies women's cricket team are set to sparkle

BIG HITTER: Hayley Matthews in action

WEST INDIES began their bid to win the Women’s World Cup with an 8 wicket defeat against Australia at Taunton on June 26. The Voice's Clayton Goodwin profiles the Caribbean outfit:

The appearance of captain Stafanie Taylor and Hayley Matthews in the West Indies team for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup provides reassurance for a region whose recent cricket otherwise has not inspired much confidence.

It was their pulsating 120 runs first-wicket partnership, supplemented by some forcing strokes from Deandra Dottin, which brought them the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Cup a year ago with victory by eight wickets over the much-fancied Australians in the final.

VICTORY

These three, plus Kyshona Knight, former captain wicket-keeper/batsman Merissa Aguilleira, Shanel Daley, Afy Fletcher, Anisa Mohammed and Shamilia Connell remain from the team which tasted victory and provide a body of experience. Other omens are not too propitious. West Indies women have never won the World Cup. They reached the final last time out four years ago but were outplayed by 118 runs by Australia.

GENERATE

Their performances in the warm-up games on this tour have not been sufficient to generate an excess of enthusiasm.

Nevertheless West Indies’ standing at fourth in the international rankings is a far and welcome cry from the lowly position in which they were placed seventh – above only Denmark and Holland - after winning twice and losing five times in the 1993 World Cup in England (the first time they competed as a region).

Courtney Browne, the chairman of the selection panel, drew attention to the four un-capped players in the squad. As a player, himself, he has had experience of snatching victory from defeat when he and Ian Bishop came together to win a Champions Trophy Final at The Oval in 2003 which was as good as lost and some reporters – sorry – had left the ground in disillusion.

The four are Reniece Boyce, a 19 year-old wicket-keeper/batsman, Quiana Joseph, a 16 year-old left-arm fast bowler, Akeira Peters, a 23 year-old left-handed all-rounder and Felicia Walters, a 25 year-old opening batsman. The shy youthful Joseph has become a focus of media attention. Browne said:

“The team is composed of a mixture of youth and experience. Performances in this year’s Women’s Regional Super50 Tournament along with the form of incumbent players over the last few international tours were taken into consideration.

EMERGING

“The panel felt that we have enough experience in the side and that all four new players bring a specific skill set to the team; all four players are products of our last training camp got emerging women’s players”.

In addition to the nine members of the side which won the World Twenty20 Final and 4 un-capped players, the 15 player squad is completed by quick bowler Shakera Selman and Chedean Nation. Former West Indies (men) cricketers Vasbert Drakes, Ezra Moseley and Stuart Williams are head coach and assistant coaches respectively, and former women’s captain Ann Browne-John is team operations manager.

Nevertheless it is still the sparkle in the batting of the outstandingly consistent Taylor, panache of Matthews (still only 19 years old) and exuberance of Dottin, as well as Mohammed’s potentially controlling off-spin, will is likely to stir interest and give substance to the performance.

Yet, West Indians are said to be mercurial and it is often the unexpected achievement from usually under the radar that can seize the imagination and decide the outcome.

WINDIES WORLD CUP DIARY

JUNE 29
West Indies v India, Taunton

JULY 2
West Indies v South Africa, Leicester

JULY 6
West Indies v New Zealand, Taunton

JULY 9
West Indies v Sri Lanka, Derby

JULY 11
West Indies v Pakistan, Leicester

JULY 15
West Indies v England, Bristol

JULY 18
Semi-final, Bristol

JULY 20
Semi-final, Derby

JULY 23
World Cup final, Lord’s

Clayton Goodwin has reported West Indies women cricket tours to England since that managed by Monica Taylor in 1979 and saw every ball the team played in the World Cup of 1993.

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