ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC) —New Head Coach Shane Deitz says he is looking for a pool of about 20 players to form the nucleus of the West Indies (WI) Women's team during his tenure.
The 48-year-old Australian started in the new role ahead of the Women's Caribbean Premier League in August, and he is preparing to take the side on a tour to his homeland for a series of three One-day Internationals (ODI) and three Twenty20 (T20) Internationals.
He replaced former Jamaica and West Indies captain, and record-setting fast bowler Courtney Walsh, whose contract was not renewed after a review of the team's performance in April this year.
Robert Samuels, the former Jamaica captain and West Indies opener, was an assistant to Walsh, but his contract was also not renewed; however, he was appointed interim head coach for the home series of the ODIs and T20Is against Ireland in July.
Deitz said West Indies Women already had a core group of players upon which he hoped to build a formidable fighting force that will play a Caribbean brand of the game that has become the hallmark of other teams around the world.
"We will work towards that, so they will have the ability to play that style of cricket, and I think that is the most successful [style] around the world and the way that Australia plays at the moment, so we are definitely going to follow that method and play that style of cricket and play the Caribbean way," he said during a recent virtual news conference.
"Obviously, we have a few players who are in the top of the world ranking like Hayley [Matthews], Stafanie [Taylor], [Chinelle] Henry is also showing signs of being an elite cricketer.
"We have got some great spinners, so there is a nucleus there and then some younger players have come into the squad and like the experienced ones, they have been proven over time to be world class.
"But we need up to 20 players that are world-class, so there are a lot of players we have to add to that… and there is a lot of young talent there, and we are working to get those up to the level of our top players."
Deitz says the tour of Australia will be an opportunity for him to gauge the strength of the team, and to create a long-term development plan for the players with a view to challenging for a World Cup in the near future.
"We need up to 20 players who are capable of playing international cricket," he said. "To do that will take five years or so…
"The reality is at the moment, we are starting from a position where we are a little bit behind the better teams in the world, so we have some catching up to do. It ain't going to be easy.
"We are going to try different things around the Caribbean to see what works and what suits each player and country and then get them to a higher-class level."
Deitz says at the heart of the drive for success will be players taking greater responsibility for their fitness and preparation, and not solely waiting for an organised environment such as a training camp to get the work needed done.
"I think it's non-negotiable at any standard of high-level sport; you gotta work hard to have success, so it's not only work hard, it's work smart as well and that is probably the key — a proper programme that fits the way we train and our facilities, and what we have got here to offer the players," he said.
"It's not about just when you are in a camp or named to the team or when you are on tour, but players are going to be responsible for doing work outside of those WI camps and being self-sufficient in their own environment, and we will support them to be able to train and on their own or [with] a team locally to become elite athletes."
West Indies Women are ranked sixth in both the ODI and T20 International formats.