Michael Matthews, who is well known among the cricketing fraternity here, is ecstatic that his daughter Hayley is already making her mark in the game on the international scene.
The 18-year-old former Harrison College student opened the batting for the West Indies in the Women’s World T20 cricket final in India yesterday, scoring a match-high 66 runs after having taken one for 13 when Australia batted. Her efforts earned the West Indies all-rounder the player of the match award.
Her doting father told Barbados TODAY this evening that he was counting down the hours until his daughter returns home so he could tell her in person how proud he was of her accomplishment.
Matthews said when he spoke with his daughter today she was ecstatic and had yet to digest her achievement.
He said the Windies victory and his daughter’s accomplishments were answers to his prayers.
“I too am ecstatic. I was praying for God to let the West Indies team win but let Hayley be instrumental in the victory and that’s the truth,” he revealed.
Matthews said he was a nervous dad as he watched his daughter take on the mighty Australians, who were listed as favourites to retain the title which they had won on three consecutive occasions.
“It only takes one ball to get you out. I was hoping that she was concentrating,” he recalled.
“When she into the 40’s I was feeling a little more confortable. The way her and Stephanie [Taylor] batted, I knew that West Indies had an outstanding chance of winning. I was very glad that they were able to take it to the point until Hayley got out,” said the happy dad.
Matthews said he started teaching Hayley the game when she was only three after she started to show an interest by joining him and her older brother in the backyard as they played.
“She use to go to cricket with me every Sunday. And she and my son would be playing on the field at Kensington Oval,” he recalled.
And so, the father knew that his gem who played for the Barbados senior women cricket team at the age of 12, would begin her journey as a professional cricketer early. Hayley would go on to become a member of West Indies team at age16.
“Hopefully she stays fit and healthy and keeps her head on. At least for the next twelve years I would think that this is going to be her career.
“She is only 18 now so she has a good set of years ahead of her. All Hayley wants to do is play cricket because it’s what she loves,” he said.
The father said Hayley who practices almost everyday with the team when she is in Barbados strives for excellence.
He explained that to get to this stage his daughter had to make a number of sacrifices, including putting her academic pursuits on pause while she focused on the sport.
“I told her to go and play cricket because that is what she will be doing. Once she is playing for West Indies team over the next good couple of years she will be travelling all the time.
“I can’t see her going in an office and working for nobody and then having to ask for time to tour and to practice. So she made a choice to play cricket and she can always come back and do her CXC,” he said.
The young sportswoman, who is also a gold medallist in the under-18 girls javelin in the CARIFTA games, secured a professional contract in the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League in Australia, playing for Hobart Hurricanes.
Her proud father, who plays cricket at the club level, said it was an honour for him to admit that Hayley had accomplished more in the sport that he had ever dreamt he could.
“She has played for the West Indies, I have never played for the West Indies. The most I have done was played for the Barbados under 19 team,” he said.