VIJAYAWADA, India – Stafanie Taylor’s West Indies Women are in India on a mission to firm up their qualification for next year’s ICC World Cup. Wednesday they take on their hosts in the first of three One-Day Internationals starting at 11.30 p.m.
The series follow on from their disappointing home series in Jamaica which they lost 3-2 to England.
The Caribbean side, the reigning Twenty20 World champions, can grab six ICC Championship points from the outings which would all but secure their automatic qualification at the showpiece in England.
However, captain Taylor has urged her charges not to look ahead to qualification but to focus on each game and executing in each department.
“I don’t want us to put ourselves under too much pressure. It’s just about going out there and being relaxed at the start and playing your natural game,” Taylor said on the eve of the contest at the Mulapadu cricket Ground.
“We do need to play as a team. I think that’s very important, [we have to] keep supporting [each other]. And we have to really get our batting, bowling and fielding to click in order to win the series.”
West Indies currently sit third in the championship on 22 points, one behind the England Women and six adrift of leaders Australia Women.
India Women are six on 13 points but have only played 15 games to West Indies Women’s 21.
The Windies Women were erratic in the recent Caribbean series against England, failing to produce consistently in any area.
However, with the squad returning to the country where they won their maiden T20 World Cup, Taylor believes the Windies are inspired to turn their form around.
“We are pretty much settled at the moment. We had two days of net sessions. I think the players are really pumped and ready,” the Jamaican explained.
“It’s a great feeling to be back. We have great memories here and I think we did awesome, fantastic, and I think it would be really nice just to repeat that and seeing we really want these points to qualify for next year’s World Cup, would mean a great deal.”
The 50-overs World Cup will be the next big prize on the horizon for the Windies Women. In the last tournament in India four years ago, they reached the final before losing to six-time champions Australia Women.
And Taylor said beating India in the series and gaining automatic qualification, would give her charges a huge bounce heading into the June 26 to July 23, 2017 World Cup.
“It’s just like when we won the T20 World Cup, we did it for the Caribbean and we definitely want to do it for them again,” Taylor stressed.
“It’s always about them so whatever we do here would reflect in such a way that we get more people on board supporting women’s cricket.
“To know that we had great moments here earlier in the year and to actually repeat that. Coming here again and winning, it is more like you are giving yourselves more confidence going into next year’s World Cup.”
Again Taylor will be the main focus of the batting and will be depending on star all-rounder Deandra Dottin for valuable contributions.
Twenty20 World Cup final hero Hayley Matthews has been in a batting slump of late and the West Indies Women will be hoping she regains her touch. The batting has been the major problem with the West Indies and more productivity will be expected from the likes of former captain Merissa Aguilleira, Britney Cooper, Shaquana Quintyne, who has moved up the order and the returning Kycia Knight.
The Indian batting is expected to led by captain Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur, both ranked in the top 10 of women’s cricket. Their bowling will be spearheaded by Jhulan Goswani, currently ranked by the ICC as the best bowler on the planet.
INDIA – Mithali Raj (captain), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Thirush Kamini, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Shikha Pandey, Sukanya Parida, Poonam Yadav, Deepti Sharma, Devika Vaidya, Sushma Verma.
WEST INDIES – Stafanie Taylor (captain), Anisa Mohammed, Merissa Aguilleira, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Kycia Knight, Hayley Matthews, Chedean Nation, Shaquana Quintyne, Shakera Selman, Tremayne Smartt.