Women’s cricket in Barbados is heading in the right direction but there is still a need for a greater level of awareness among all stakeholders to push that development even further.
That’s the view of contracted cricket coach with the Barbados Cricket Association and former West Indies fast bowler Vasbert Drakes.
Drakes told Barbados TODAY that from a coach’s perspective he would like to see cricket being targeted toward a wider female community rather than coaches having to go and encourage women to come around the game.
“It has been discussed and we are still engaging in discussion to find the best possible solution to the way forward in terms of developing those ladies from a young age as it pertains to the game of cricket. Certainly, that is one of the areas that needs greater attention,” he said.
Drakes, who also coaches the female national team, noted that interest was being shown by a few more females than before because of the exposure which the game has been receiving.
“The interest is there and the game is being televised internationally and the ladies are saying they have more opportunities to develop. There are a lot more incentives involved where you have ladies who are contracted with the national team and by extension the West Indies team.
“For the past four to five years a lot of attention has been placed on the developmental aspect and definitely the programs have been more solid and hence a lot of progress has been made to take Barbados cricket forward. Kycia and Kyshona Knight, Shaquana Quintyne, Deandra Dottin and Shakira Selman on the West Indies team is a testimony to where we are at as a cricketing group,” Drakes said.
The recent Iris Walker Memorial Women’s T20 Tournament was another development programme put in place where female cricketers could develop competitively and according to Drakes, those managing this initiative have been doing a fantastic job. He added that the Barbados female team had nine all-rounders and so far they had been hitting their targets in preparation for the upcoming regional tournament slated to be held in Dominica in August.
“We have started our preparation a lot earlier than previous years so we can work on those areas that need to be worked on. We focus on areas like rotating the strike more, developing more options from a batting and fielding perspective. We are also focusing on another component which is probably neglected around the Caribbean and that’s having a strong awareness of what is good and bad technique and also what is bad decision-making in terms of executing well under pressure situations. So the mental component is one area that we recognize can enhance your game by 30 to 40 per cent,” Drakes said.
Drakes noted that the Barbados team currently has nine all-rounders, including Hayley Mathews who he said was perhaps just a couple of games away from the West Indies senior team. He also singled out Quintyne who he said was probably one of the most developed cricketers in the last couple of years.
“These are the girls who are coming through but we still believe that we can do a lot better. So we are looking to zoom in on the areas that need working on so we can get these ladies into a position where they can become very competent,” the coach said.