Wish Windies Women all the best

Wish Windies Women all the best

Saturday, February 22, 2020

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It's been four years since West Indies women shocked the cricketing world by winning the ICC Twenty20 World Cup, beating Australia in the final in India.

That triumph coincided with the men's team winning the world T20 title.

That was also the year in which the West Indies Under-19s upset the form book by winning the ICC Under-19 50-over World Cup.

But for those who follow cricket closely, it was the success of the women which caused the most surprise, given extremely limited resources, among many other inadequacies afflicting the women's game in the Caribbean.

As it turned out, West Indies women were unable to repeat the feat when the Caribbean hosted the tournament in 2018. They were knocked out at the semi-final stage.

The build-up to the current tournament in Australia has not been ideal.
Media reports remind us that the West Indies women have been beaten badly by both Australia and India in recent times. Indeed, they have won only five of their last 17 T20 Internationals.

Yet Caribbean people, and their women in particular, are extremely resilient. We know they will not give up, nor take a backward step as they seek to make their region proud in a campaign which begins today against debutantes, and the supposed weakest team in Group B, Thailand.

To get past Group B to the knockout stage West Indies Women must also contend with England, South Africa and Pakistan.

It must be a source of considerable relief for the team management and Captain Ms Stafanie Taylor that the dynamic all-rounder Ms Deandra Dottin is back in the fold following a year-long shoulder injury which at one point endangered her career.
All that aside, though, we are heartened by Ms Taylor's businesslike approach to today's game.

Recognising that “the ball is round and anything can happen”, Ms Taylor says her team will not be complacent against a team which, we are told, has gained considerable T20 experience over recent times.

Says Ms Taylor: “We'll be looking at it exactly like playing Australia or India. We're taking it very seriously, for sure… We can't think in the back of our minds that they know nothing about cricket because we haven't played or seen much of them. We can't assume we're just going to hit them all around the park. If we adopted that plan it would definitely backfire.”

That's just good sense. Many, in sport and other walks of life, have ended up wallowing in regret after taking opponents lightly.

Obviously, Caribbean people are hopeful that the West Indies women will do well, even if they do not win the ICC T20 World Cup.

But it seems to this newspaper that, beyond results, there needs to be a more focused attempt at lifting women's cricket regionally and locally.

In Jamaica, we are continually surprised that a schools' cricket league for girls is yet to be developed.

Surely, this is something the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), which has done so much for more than a century in nurturing Jamaican sport, should be seeking to implement?

It need not be hard-ball cricket to begin with. A soft-ball league — which we suspect may well intrigue potential sponsors — would be a good place to start, we think.

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