JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CMC) — Head Coach Courtney Walsh believes consistent, competitive totals will be critical to any success for West Indies Women during the upcoming ICC 50-overs World Cup in New Zealand.
While acknowledging the Caribbean side's batting had been unpredictable at times, Walsh said they hoped to use the four-match One-Day International series against hosts starting here next Friday to sharpen that area of their game.
The legendary former seamer said West Indies Women would be targeting totals around 250 but also stressed the need for the careful assessment of conditions and the opposition.
“We have to assess the conditions we're playing [in]. Under normal conditions, you want to score at a certain amount of runs per over so you're looking at an average score of 240, 250,” Walsh explained.
“But not all the surfaces are going to give you that or not all the teams you play against can give you that score, so we have to assess every opposition.
“If we can score consistently in that area of 240, 250 then you give yourself the best chance. You're going to have low-scoring games from time to time but that is what we're trying to create, that we can be consistent in getting over the 250 mark.
“If we play well enough, we can get closer to 300. We have not ruled anything out, but it's just having a little bit of consistency with all the batters and everybody contributing in a team effort.”
The series against South Africa is the first for the tourists since their abandoned campaign at the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe last November, when organisers were forced to hastily scrap the tournament due to COVID-19 concerns.
West Indies Women then spent nearly two weeks in the Gulf state of Oman before flying home mid-December.
Walsh said the aborted campaign had disrupted the squad's preparation and may have hurt their quest for performance consistency, despite their clean sweep of Pakistan Women in Karachi last November.
“We're headed in the right direction. Unfortunately, we didn't get a lot more game time on the previous tour of Zimbabwe and after the qualifiers, because it would've given us enough games for the ladies to have that confidence and it would have given us as coaches that level of consistency with a couple of good scores,” he noted.
“There were just not enough games so this tour now is paramount to getting us playing some cricket again, and if we can continue where we left off in Pakistan and [from] the qualifiers and just keep that consistency going, then I'll be very happy for that.
“And once we play that type of cricket, it gives us a chance of doing extremely well.”
Last September, West Indies Women suffered a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of an inspired South Africa Women in a five-match ODI series in Antigua, and Walsh expects the January 25 to February 6 series to be the ideal preparation ahead of the March 4 to April 3 World Cup.
“We planned for the tour to be this way because we wanted a very good test before we go into the World Cup,” Walsh pointed out.
“As I said earlier, the one drawback we had is that we didn't get enough game time on the previous tour, which would've given us a lot more cricket — a lot more competitive cricket — and it would've helped us a lot more on this tour.
“We now have to be looking at this tour to ensure everybody gets ready for the World Cup. I think when you're playing the number two-ranked team, you can't ask for much better than that.
“We'll have to pull out all the stops and look at all the areas we need to improve on, and this tour will give us that sort of guideline.