The Independent Voice of West Indies Cricket

2023 Women's Caribbean Premier League Review: West Indian Perspective

Sun, Sep 17, '23


Caribbean Premier League

Curtains were drawn on a successful second edition of the Women's Caribbean Premier League on Sunday evening at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy with last season's runners-up, the Barbados Royals, being crowned champions. The improvement in the quality of the overseas players involved in this season's competition resulted in an improvement in the overall quality of cricket displayed, with four of the seven games being decided in the 20th over.

The tournament run rate also crept up from 6.8 RPO to 7.7 RPO, which led to a jump in the average first innings total up to 153 (min. 19 overs batted) from last season's 104.  And where the highest score in the 2022 season was 114, teams scored in excess of 160 on four separate occasions this time around.

From a West Indian perspective, it was no surprise to see Hayley Matthews at the top ends of both the batting and bowling tables. Matthews' 191 runs were good enough for second best among batters while her 7 wickets placed her joint-third on the bowling charts.

What more could McLean do?

One thing that might not have necessarily been expected, however, was the resurgence of Natasha McLean. While batting at no.5 in three of her four innings, McLean had the second most runs (91) of any active West Indian, behind Matthews.

More importantly, as the West Indies have had a struggle to find boundary hitters, the Jamaican boasted the highest strike rate (149.18) of any batter in the tournament to score a minimum of 50 runs; complemented by a rather impressive average of 30.33.

This was objectively a better season than the one that bought her a ticket back into the West Indies squad a year ago where she scored 30 runs in 3 innings, averaging 10 while striking at 60.

McLean (2022 vs 2023)


Balls Faced















Though McLean was recalled to fill the role vacated by the retired big-hitting Deandra Dottin, she had a hard time of it on her international return, managing a high score of 20 across the ODI and T20I series against New Zealand. Yet, after a season such as the one just concluded, McLean can feel hard done to have been overlooked for the West Indies' upcoming tour of Australia.

Fretting for Fraser

On to a player who did make that squad: Cherry Ann Fraser. The West Indies seem to be heading in the direction of partnering the young Guyanese with Hayley Matthews at the death with ball in hand. And it simply does not bode well for this cause, that Fraser was hit out of the attack and subsequently the playing XI when Amazon Warriors' skipper, Stafanie Taylor, attempted to pattern this design. After bowling 4 overs across two games, Fraser had a tournament-worst ECON rate of 14.75, conceding 59 runs from 24 balls. A worrying sign for the Shakera Selman-less West Indies squad.

Cherry Ann Fraser as a prospect is one the Caribbean is excited about. The 24-year-old will grow with each experience but at the moment, she is still just that: inexperienced. But with the only other specialist death-bowler in the side being the off-spinning Matthews, as Shamelia Connell has never really (not yet anyway) moulded herself in that form; it, therefore, means that if Fraser is anything less than effective against the Aussies, the West Indies will be left exposed at the death.

WINDIES & Warriors wasting Gajnabi

Shabika Gajnabi showed promise in this department a few years ago. Yet having not bowled a single ball for the Warriors this season, one would be left bemused as to her role in the team, especially when she didn't really shine with the bat, having faced just 11 balls.

How does a player go from bowling 7 overs across two games, taking 3 wickets at 15.33 apiece with an ECON of 6.54 in the 2022 campaign, to not bowling a ball the next?

This is a cause for concern because the all-rounder is also being underused in international cricket. Gajnabi simply just does not bowl in ODIs anymore, having not exhibited her run-up in the format since 2021. Not to mention that she's bowled just 8.5 overs in 5 T20Is this year.

Both the Amazon Warriors and the West Indies will be better off with a developed Gajnabi, who has quite a few useful variations. But to develop, the 23-year-old will need to bowl. And having proved herself to be an intelligent bowler earlier in her International career, I'm left to wonder what prevents her skippers from throwing the ball in her direction consistently.

If only WI could clone Afy

How do you solve a problem like Afy Fletcher? Fletcher only took a solitary wicket this season. Still, her ECON rate was the second-best in the tournament, at 5.84.  Alongside Amanda Jade Wellington, she also formed one half of the wrist-spinning duo that was crucial to the Royals' victorious run.

Now, I asked how one solves a problem like Afy Fletcher not because the 'problem' for the West Indies lies in Fletcher herself. Rather in the fact that there isn't really anyone lining up to succeed the 36-year-old. The West Indies Women might soon find themselves with an issue akin to the Men, having to field wrist-spinner-less XIs in a format where the game is oftentimes decided by the quality of wrist-spin a team has up their sleeve.

Salute, Rashada Williams

I leave you with an honourable mention for Rashada Williams who played an innings of 36 from 23  in a final that her team won by just 8 runs. So much has been said about Williams' strike rate at the beginning of her career, and rightly so. But we've since seen her go from adding shots like the sweep and the soft hand dab to her armoury against New Zealand, to batting with an intent that might not have been reflected in all her scores against England. And what we witnessed last Sunday seemed like a combination of both at the perfect time for her team. For the West Indies? Long may it continue!