Seven years ago I was watching this T20 series involving the hosts West Indies women, England women and New Zealand women in Barbados.
The West Indies won the triangular tournament in which Deandra Dottin was named MVP. Stafanie Taylor was named player of the final as West Indies defeated England by a resounding eight wickets.
However, during that tournament, a 17-year-old girl impressed me, and I just knew she was going to be a superstar.
Against England, Shaquana Quintyne almost single-handedly won a match for the West Indies that we had absolutely no business winning. England were 69 without loss, chasing 141 to win with openers Charlotte Edwards, England’s skipper and the number two batter in the world at that time, and Lauren Winfield going great guns.
Shaquana, however, with her leg-spin, picked up both openers and also added the world’s best batter at the time Sarah Taylor as another scalp.
The much-vaunted England batting wilted under the pressure, and the girl from Barbados had stolen my heart and garnered admirers all over the world as she picked up a career best 5-16 off 4 overs. I still remember her beaming child-like toothy smile during that game.
The following March, she was ranked the second-best bowler in all of T20 cricket.
But this story does not have a happy ending.
Shaquana Quintyne, though not formally, for all intents, at just 24 years old, is retired. She cries herself to sleep.
She cries not just because of the pain she endures in her leg but she’s haunted by a future she now knows she will never have.
In March 2017 while fielding in a West Indies squad practice match at the Coolidge cricket ground in Antigua, Shaquana did some damage to her right knee. She felt the pain immediately.
What happened afterwards was a laid back, negligent response to her plight.
After all, what does a 21-year-old girl know about serious injury? It must be an exaggeration. She’s fine. Give her ice and Cataflam, that’ll do it.
Neither the Cataflam nor the ice worked.
A month later, when the pain became unbearable, she took it upon herself to get an MRI scan done. And the scan showed she had a full-blown posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) grade three tear. Then and only then did the medical team of the then West Indies Cricket Board take it upon themselves to advise her to have the urgent surgery needed… three months later in Jamaica.
And so the up-and-coming star, who was at this time, the captain of the Barbados team, had to go under the knife on June 8, 2017, and do surgery, (by a WICB recommended doctor) which could take her out of the action for about a year.
However, while in Jamaica in the immediate aftermath of her release from the hospital, she experienced more pain. Ripped stitches and blood made for a dramatic scene at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel before she was rushed back to the hospital.
And although she was put on a first-class flight from Jamaica to Barbados, one week after that intrusive surgery, it wouldn’t have helped being on a plane for 12 hours, and in high altitude making stops in Antigua and Trinidad.
Back in Barbados… more pain. Shaquana was told it was all in her mind.
However it was clear she needed another surgery.
And four months later, an independent surgeon from Barbados, removed one of the screws implanted and found out that the graft from the first surgery did not take hold. The doctor also noticed her right knee was not positioned properly back into the socket. There was nothing the doctor could do for Shaquana then and there. The recommendation was to go to Canada.
By the time the third surgery came around in Canada in April of 2018 at the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, the doctor informed her that based on the damage in her knee, and the lack of cartilage, she would not play cricket again.
And this is when the support of Shaquana by Cricket West Indies stopped.
Previously, according to the board, the Total and Permanent Disablement policy, which did not exist for the women’s team in 2017 was extended to the young Bajan, in light of her injury.
Since the third operation in Canada, however, she has had to fend for herself. She went under the knife for a fourth time, in Canada where she spent six months in rehab. In total her expenses have exceeded US$30,000.
There has been radio silence from Cricket West Indies since June 14, 2018 under the previous administration led by Dave Cameron. Not a call. Not a bit of inquisition. Not a care in the world. And nothing has changed under the new administration led by Ricky Skerritt.
I once had empathy for sporting associations which, based on the economic climate in the Caribbean, can do little to help athletes. However it is bordering on cruel to totally abandon one of your brightest stars, a young star, a girl, in her hour of need.
The call by chairman of selectors Courtney Browne informing her she would not have been offered a central contract for 2018 to 2019 despite the fact she was injured on the job, wreaks of the injustice many in this world are fighting against today. At the first opportunity, she was forsaken.
Where is the West Indies Players Association in all this? Their last call to her was on her birthday in January of 2019… wishing her all the best. No solid representation from an association of which she is still a member.
There is no argument which can be made stating that enough was done. The loyalty of our regional cricketers should never be questioned until this travesty is addressed.
Who failed Shaquana Quintyne? There are so many dirty hands at the moment. (Adapted, SportsMax)
Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax.