Following complaints from former Barbados and West Indies allrounder Shaquana Quintyne over alleged maltreatment by Cricket West Indies (CWI) after a career-ending injury, another West Indies allrounder, Shanel Daley, has also voiced disappointment at the direction her career has taken post injury.
Eight years ago, Daley was one of the world’s top-ranked all-rounders and among the first set of six female players to receive central retainer contracts from CWI in 2010. She played on teams that reached the 2013 ICC 50-over World Cup final as well as the 2016 T20 World Cup winning side.
The player, however, saw the trajectory of her career altered when she suffered a devastating knee injury, against Australia in 2015.
After struggling to return to her best form, losing her retainer contract, and the team’s disastrous showing at the 2017 Women’s ODI World Cup, Daley stepped away from the sport. Having worked through various issues, including a battle with depression, the cricketer began an earnest search for a way back into it.
Difficulty getting back into the West Indies team would have been expected, but Daley has found herself gravely disappointed by the limited opportunities provided to women looking for roles within the sport, once they leave the pitch.
“The World Cup in England, that was a rough, rough tournament. Prior to that tournament, I had just got back, I was trying to recover from my knee injury and all the other things that were happening,” Daley told The Commentators podcast in her homeland.
“It was a rough tour and I thought about it (leaving the sport) based on everything that was happening…the injury was one of the biggest things that caused me to take some time for myself, maybe it was the right time, maybe it was the wrong time. It was based on how I was feeling mentally and emotionally about cricket, especially in the region, I felt like we weren’t moving forward,” she added.
“With the injury, I wondered what if this happened again, what am I going to do. I felt like an outcast sometimes, even though my teammates supported me to the best of their ability.”
Daley, who also spoke up about her difficult battle with depression, is actively looking to get involved with the sport again, whether on or off the pitch. She is, however, discouraged by the lack of opportunity for women, especially when it comes to the Jamaica Cricket Association.
“At the end of the day, we are representing our country. As a female, I personally don’t feel appreciated by the board. When it comes to women, it’s always some excuse or some other thing.”
She added: “We play cricket for a living. Basically, it’s our life. If we are committed to cricket, cricket should be committed to us.”
“I lost my retainer contract with the West Indies Cricket Board (CWI) and that was a reality check. Life after cricket, there is life after cricket, but there is nothing in place for females in terms of life after cricket.
“How many female coaches do you have out there? It’s just those little things. Give us the opportunities, if we don’t take it then that’s on us. We need opportunities, some coaching courses, some umpiring coaches. We shouldn’t be the ones going to them. If you are looking out for us, then those things would come to mind.”
In addition to very few certified female coaches at any level, regionally, there are no former players on the Cricket West Indies board, which stands in sharp contrast to countries like Australia, England and New Zealand.
In prime form, few would argue that Daley was one of the brightest talents in the region and destined for great things.
In 70 One Day Internationals (ODIs) her total of 73 wickets puts her at third for the West Indies, behind Stafanie Taylor (142), top wicket-taker Anisha Mohammed (151), but ahead of noted all-rounder Deandre Dottin (69). An even closer look shows that Daley achieved her total in much fewer games, with Taylor achieving her total in 126, Mohammed in 122, and Dotin needing 117.
In 68 T20 internationals, the order is much the same, with Daley’s tally of 72 leaving her behind Taylor (94) and Mohammed (111) but above Dottin (61). Again, Daley’s wicket haul has come in fewer games.
With the bat, she totalled a handy 1001 runs, which is 7th on the list but in fewer matches than everyone else above her, with the exception of specialist batter Hayley Matthews.
Speaking on the Podcast with Donald Oliver and Ricardo Chambers, the 31-year-old was brought to tears as she recounted this most difficult period in her life.
“I don’t think we in the region take mental illness seriously….so that was one of the issues,” she pointed out.
With tears flowing she added: “It’s scary when you don’t know which direction you are going to go sometimes…..it’s just scary when you feel like you are alone and you are just spiralling.”
She said she was back in training and would love to play for the West Indies women again but believes she can offer even more to the women’s game in the Caribbean in other ways. (SportsMax)