ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Two of the greatest players in the game’s history have thrown their full support behind West Indies women, in their bid to win the ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup on home soil.
Sir Viv Richards, who is listed among the top five greatest cricketers of all time and Clive Lloyd, regarded worldwide as one of the best captains of all time, have given their backing to Stafanie Taylor’s team as they go in search of their second global title.
“Congrats to captain and members of the team for reaching the semis and wishing them all the best in pursuit of a second consecutive World T20 title. So far, they have shown great skill and professionalism. Even when they were in tight situations they fought well and battled back,” said Lloyd, who oversaw West Indies’ capture of the 1975 and 1978 50-overs World Cup in England.
“We have seen grit and determination to be the number one team in the world. They’re unbeaten (in this tournament) at the moment, and to win the title they will have to play unbeaten throughout … that would be a remarkable feat.”
Sir Viv, who was on hand for the team’s training session at the Coolidge Cricket Ground on Tuesday, backed the defending champs to repeat their 2016 performance, which saw them beat Australia in the final in India.
“I’ve come here today to wish you all the best in the semi-final against Australia and urge you all to push on to the final and make us proud. As a matter of fact, you have already made us proud … we are so proud of you,” Sir Viv told the players.
“You are two steps away from that great moment. You have done it before and we know you have it in you to do it again. Don’t change a thing, keep pushing on.”
West Indies will face three-time champions Australia in the first match at 4 p.m. at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium, while England meet India at 8 p.m. in a repeat of last year’s 50-Over World Cup final, which was played at Lord’s.
Lloyd, who moulded West Indies men into one of the great units of the 1970s and 80s, said he has been especially impressed with the spirit of the players.
“I’m sure they will be able to defend the crown and I wish them the best and I hope they reach the zenith,” he added.
“I like their professionalism … when they were down they defended well … we saw that against South Africa. They have brought back that spirit of the 70s and the 80s and have been a credit to the West Indies.”
And Sir Viv, a National Hero of Antigua and Barbuda, urged fans to come and support the Windies historic bid.
Ticket sales information from organisers suggest that Thursday’s semi-finals could be a full house, with close to 13,000 spectators expected to attend.
“This is a truly grand occasion and the whole world will be watching the semi-finals and final,” said Sir Viv, who has remained an iconic figure in the cricket world.
“To have it being played in my lovely country is something truly magnificent and I want to urge all my brothers and sisters in Antigua and Barbuda to come out and show your support for the West Indies and for the great game of cricket.
“We are a cricket-loving nation we will show the world how we celebrate the sport on this wonderful part of the world.”