Game-time the only prescription for sharp-again WINDIES Women ahead of 50-over World Cup

Mon, Jul 19, '21

 

Media Watch

At the start of Pakistan Women’s tour of the Caribbean, West Indies Women had not won a bilateral series in over 24 months. An unwanted record the Courtney Walsh-coached WINDIES put to bed when they whitewashed the Pakistanis in their three-match T20 International series. Then followed that up by taking an unassailable 3-nil lead in their five-match One Day International series.

West Indies captain, Stafanie Taylor, was fit again. And by the 3rd T20I, she had returned to form. Along with Taylor’s form, the return of Kycia and Kyshona Knight signalled runs for the West Indies, outside of the captain herself, which they so desperately needed the preceding year. 

With so much talent, it was with great difficulty that we attempted to pinpoint precisely what was awry in the WINDIES camp during that 24-month winless streak. Therefore, it would be effortless to turn to the change in coaching staff and say, “they did the trick.” Instead, let us examine the account on which the verb ascribed to the Ladies in Maroon, during the aforementioned time span, would have been ‘unsettled.’

And we need not look far to find there had been extensive injuries to Kycia Knight and Deandra Dottin, the latter of whom underwent surgery. That there were injuries as well for Stafanie Taylor and Hayley Matthews. As well as the absence of Anisa Mohammed. Not to mention, Shamilia Connell’s lack of form. As well as that of Hayley Matthews on her return to the team.

Therefore, when the West Indies had welcomed back the Knight sisters to their batting line-up–when they now had the presence of Deandra Dottin and Shamilia Connell had returned to zipping the new-ball around–when Hayley Matthews could now, for the first time since 2019, finish an ODI series healthy–when Anisa Mohammed now returned a permanent fixture in the team—the Caribbean side, coming into this tour, was immediately fielding a:

•more experienced team and;

•simply, a better one.

And with the band back together, we motor out of crisis mode, in simply wondering what has happened to this team. And instead, we return to jotting down areas of requisite improvement, as this unit resumes its growth.

Both of the West Indies’ losses in the ODI series were relatively close encounters. Therefore, the areas of improvement are readily visible. A thing not to be underestimated in the slightest with a 50-over World Cup around the corner.

Underutilizing the PowerPlay:

Not once, in five attempts, had the West Indies been able to score at six runs per over in the first ten overs of their innings. Instead, the most WINDIES had been able to muster was 46 runs in the 3rd ODI. A contributing factor to West Indies’ now notorious slow starts is the inability of this team, not unlike their male counterparts, to rotate strike. Which is currently holding the Caribbean side back from getting to totals of 300+ on a regular basis.

The West Indies could attempt to rectify this by moving Dottin back to the top of the order—which they did in the 4th and 5th ODI, but there must be given consideration to the fact that a move like this could leave the lower-order exposed without a true finisher.

Death-Bowling:

The West Indies’ death-bowling, at the moment, might best be described as an unsolved puzzle for which all the pieces are present. In this regard, Stafanie Taylor has the likes of Shakera Selman, Chinelle Henry, Aaliyah Alleyne, Deandra Dottin and Shabika Gajnabi at her disposal. Granted, some more experienced than others. Which is one of the many reasons why the next few months in this team’s international calendar will be of utmost importance.

For this, a team whose second-best at the death—in Dottin—is not a guaranteed bowling option due to recent shoulder surgery. A team that has already missed out on ten months of international cricket—a period of inactivity that has robbed the less experienced Alleyne, Henry and Gajnabi of the opportunity to sharpen their skills against the world’s best. 

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