West Indies Women, the reigning queens of the International Cricket Council Women’s T20 World Cup, now have their eyes on another prize, this time it’s the ICC’s 50-Over title.
Speaking with the media Wednesday morning at Accra Beach Hotel, head coach Vasbert Drakes and team captain Stafanie Taylor were both confident about West Indies’ chances of dethroning Australia who won the title in 2013 against the Caribbean women by 114 runs in Mumbai, India.
Drakes certainly believes they can go all the way this time when the competition bowls off Saturday, June 24 and concludes on Sunday July 23 in England. He said the just concluded four-day camp held in Barbados had been a rather pleasing exercise in terms of their overall preparation.
With four uncapped players, Trinidadian duo Reniece Boyce, a 19-year-old wicketkeeper/batter and Felicia Walters, a 25-year-old opening batter and part-time spin bowler along with Quiana Joseph, a 16-year-old fast bowler from St Lucia and Akeira Peters, a 23-year-old left-handed all-rounder from Grenada, the coach explained that in an effort for the ladies to gel, the camp focused on relationship building, team bonding and assessment.
Having represented Barbados and West Indies at the highest level, Drakes said pressure was always a given in any competitive situation but noted that in order to be successful in England the ladies would need to remain focused and manage the job at hand.
“As a group, we recognize the importance of playing good cricket. Pressure is something that you create on yourself . . . . My job is to manage the expectations well, obviously, seeing it’s a competition that you want to do well in and don’t worry about the other stuff as it relates to the pressure.
“A lot of learning would have taken place since I took over from Campbell [Sherwin] who did a really good job, certainly I have a better understanding of the players by being a lot more closer to them. I see they have certainly grown as individuals… This team has a lot of potential and I still believe that they can get better as a group and my job is to continue to challenge them, challenge myself to get the best out of the players. Presently I am enjoying where we are at as a group, I think everyone is in a really good head space and if we can continue in that manner I think we can do something special,” Drakes said.
This is the 11th edition of the tournament with the third of its kind being played in England since its inception in 1973 and just like Drakes, all-rounder Taylor who was tasked to lead the regional side two years ago, said she has seen improvements and doesn’t believe they are that far behind from the higher ranked teams including world number one Australia.
As an experienced campaigner having travelled the world in West Indies colours, Taylor said playing in England was going to test them mentally but reassured regional fans that the players had the requisite capabilities to handle themselves on any given day.
“I am very much happy. Winning the T20 World Cup would have boosted that and we know it is not the T20 World Cup, it is a different competition, fifty overs. So it is going to take time and we just need to apply ourselves. I am very happy with where we are at so hopefully we can build on that going into the championship.
“Four new players, players that have been playing at regional level and everyone knows everyone so I don’t think it is that hard. This four-day bonding camp was to get players together and get the gelling going, camaraderie, and I like how the camaraderie is going. So I am pretty much confident going into the World Cup,” she stated.
The West Indies women’s team departed Grantley Adams International Airport Wednesday evening for England where they would spend the next two weeks getting acclimatized with conditions before their opening match on June 26 against Australia at County Ground, Taunton, England.
Squad: Stafanie Taylor (Captain), Merissa Aguilleira, Reniece Boyce, Shamilia Connell, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Quiana Joseph, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Akeira Peters, Shakera Selman and Felicia Walters. Team Management: Vasbert Drakes (Head Coach), Ann Browne-John (Team Operations Manager), Ezra Moseley (Assistant Coach), Stuart Williams (Assistant Coach), Oba Gulston (Physiotherapist), Hector Martinez-Charles (Fitness Coordinator), Donald La Guerre (Performance Specialist), Trent Sargeant (Video Data Analyst)