Lead West Indies Women’s selector Ann Browne-John said she and her fellow selectors are concerned that there is not a deep enough pool of women to choose from to replace non-performing players in the West Indies Women’s team.
It was an issue they had planned to begin addressing during the regional women’s and U19 tournaments that were cancelled earlier this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the recent five-match tour of England, the Caribbean women were swept 5-0 in a woefully lop-sided series. Only Deandra Dottin walked away with her head held high scoring 185 runs at an average of 37 over the five matches. She also bowled well despite nursing a sore shoulder.
No other batter made 100 runs during the series. Captain Stafanie Taylor with 78 runs was the only player to come close while the struggling Hayley Matthews was the next best having scored 38 runs, 21 of them coming in a single innings. Other than Dottin and Taylor, no other batter had a double-digit average, an area of great concern for Browne-John.
“Most definitely, and we have recognized that fact,” she said while speaking on Sportsnation Live on Nationwide Radio in Jamaica on Saturday night.
She indicated that this was a concern that the selectors had been discussing for some time and which they had planned to begin looking into with the regional tournaments this year.
“Unfortunately, we were not able to have a regional senior or U19 tournament this year but that is something we have discussed as selectors; that we now have to start looking for the next group of players, the group that would normally be like an ‘A’ team or an U19 team. So we have to start finding that group of players and start nurturing that group,” she said.
Brown-John said the selectors had hoped that there would have been a “vibrant” U19 tournament as there was supposed to be an U19 World Cup in early 2021. “So, we were looking towards that tournament to find some talent and we were also hoping for the regional tournament to look, particularly for batters because that is the area in which we are struggling most,” she said.
“It was also mentioned that we don’t have left-hand batters in our top order, we have to pick somebody who is left-handed and who is performing, so that is another consideration.”
The selectors were also hoping to unearth a specific type of bowler as well, the lead selector revealed.
“We have a great number of offspinners but we only have one leg-spinner in Afy Fletcher, but we don’t have a large number of left-arm orthodox bowlers,” she said. “When we go out, every team we face we come up against left-arm orthodox. We have to look for that kind of player in the Caribbean.”
Meanwhile, Courtney Walsh, the newly appointed head coach of the team, said there was much room for improvement but he plans to leave no stone unturned in his quest to transform the fortunes of the current squad.
Walsh was appointed last week in the wake of the team’s sorry performance in England. Walsh, the only West Indies bowler to take 500 Test wickets, said he has a plan to inject a winning mentality into the team.
“There is room for improvement in all aspects of the game. My idea and plan and strategy is to re-focus, re-energize and to look at the talented players we have and work out how we can improve with the players we have and other young players to come into the set-up as well,” he said.
“To try to create that brand that we know we can play, that we used to play, going back a few years when we won the T20 world Cup in India and couple years ago when we were in the semi-finals and were doing so well.
“That is going to come from consistency, how we plan, how we strategize, how we execute and get our tactical awareness up. I’m not going to leave any stones unturned. I’m going to go right through everything to ensure we give ourselves the very best chance. We have a good solid base of players. Obviously, we have to perform. Those teams with players who perform get the best results.”
Walsh said he wanted the players to go back to enjoying their cricket and that meant working on building team confidence.
“I want to see them smiling again. The whole idea is to give them self-confidence and self-belief that they have a job to do and perform,” he said. “Once the players believe in themselves and they are smiling and enjoying the game that’s the right path.
“You will have some bad patches and failures here and there but that consistency and that will and pride to play for the West Indies is what I want to see more of.” (SportsMax)