West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor has expressed disappointment about certain aspects of the administration of the women’s game in the region.
Taylor, who is currently leading the women’s team in a One-Day International series in England, held nothing back in an interview with ESPNcricinfo. She said despite the fact that the women, like the men, had won the 1CC Twenty20 World Cup in 2016, nothing had really changed in terms of the response to female cricketers from Cricket West Indies (CWI).
“It’s pretty much the same [as before the victory], not many changes have been made, which is disappointing. You would think that after winning the World Cup things would have improved, but not much has been done,” Taylor said.
The Jamaican batting star noted there was the perception that the men brought in more money than women thus the men were given preferential treatment. “When it comes to the men’s side, things were always going to be different – because it’s pretty much good or it will improve, whether it might be in terms of money or something else. It’s always the talk about the guys bringing in more money or the guys bringing in the money that has to be split into different categories to facilitate women, or Under-19s, or Under-17s, Under-15s, which is sad to hear at times because the men get preference,” she said.
Taylor also indicated that the pay structure was a problem especially for the players at the lower tiers.
“Right now, I think there are 15 players who are contracted. For the captain, it is a bit different; the captain gets an allowance. What if the player on the lower tiers, unlike me, get like US$500 a month and, say, you’re the breadwinner in the family, you got to pay bills and take care of other things… it’s really hard to live on that and you do that even when you give 150 percent of your life to [the team],” she said.
Taylor made some suggestions on how CWI could improve the lot of female cricketers.
“Development of young players, better payment in retainers. We’d love to have a masseuse. It’s hard to be on tour for a month and get only one or two massages given you’re expected to train every day, and play every other day. As much as an ice-bath is important, having massages is important, too.
“If you want to improve the women’s game, you’ve got to give us contracts at the domestic level. It’s not just improving our fitness, you have to understand that people have to work. You can’t just go out everyday, and play and run. You have a family you have to take care of. So if there are some kind of professional or semi-professional contracts, then you know you have to emphasise your fitness, your skills, your game – you can focus better. If you have a 9-5 job, it gets a bit difficult to improve your cricket,” she said.
The top-rated international cricketer noted that more needed to be done on the domestic level to encourage more female cricketers and to improve preparation for international assignments.
“Yes, it’s hard. It’s really hard. To get that going, we need more camps. Our domestic level is so poor… we only have about two or three weeks of domestic cricket. In Regionals, say, if it’s Jamaica v Trinidad or Barbados v Guyana, the top West Indies players play against each other. But it lasts only for about three weeks. Then you get selected [for international tours], we go for camps which last about ten days before a tour, and then go off to play international cricket. We need camps outside of pre-tours, otherwise how can we improve?” she asked.
Although Taylor said the health of women’s cricket at the domestic level was not that great, she acknowledged that there was talent in the islands and efforts were being made to bring it to the fore.
“The health is not quite that great yet. We, West Indies, recently had the Under-19 tournament and we’ve been working really hard to get some young buds going. I do see a few young players that, maybe in the next two years, will integrate with the seniors. I do believe [developing more] young players is the way to go; we left it too long, too late. Now we do need to start building that strength. It’s good that West Indies put on that Under-19 tournament, but not much light is shed on that. We really need to try harder to get those younger players coming through. I will be 28 this year and most of the players in our side are on the latter side of the 20s. I feel because of a poor [domestic] structure, we never really had that much young talent coming through and even integrating with the senior players like myself,” she said. (Cricinfo/WG)