Head coach of the West Indies women’s cricket team Courtney Walsh has called for consistency from the regional ladies as they prepare to take on host South Africa in four One-Day International (ODI) matches starting Friday, January 28, at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
Walsh, a former West Indies pacer took over the position as head coach of West Indies women in 2020 and said that this current tour of South Africa is part of their preparation for the International Cricket Council Women’s ODI World Cup. It is expected to bowl off Friday, March 4 with West Indies against host New Zealand at the Bay Oval in Tauranga.
“A little more consistency, it is heading in the right direction. Unfortunately we didn’t get a lot of games on the previous tour of Zimbabwe, (if we did) it would have given us enough games for the ladies to have that confidence and it would have given us coaches a chances to analyze that consistency. It just was not enough games so this tour now is paramount to get us playing some cricket before that [World Cup] and if we can continue where we left off with Pakistan and for the qualifiers and get that consistency going then I would be happy for that. Once we play that type of cricket it would give us a chance of doing extremely well,” Walsh said.
Speaking during the virtual press conference, Walsh who holds the record for being the highest wicket-taker for West Indies in Test cricket, said that he would like to have a balance where everyone plays a part in the overall success of the regional women’s side. Given that in recent times West Indies bowlers have been doing the job, Walsh stated that scoring consistently in the 240 to 270 region, would give the regional women a good chance when they face opposition.
He also emphasized the need for others to play a part with the bat besides the main scorers in Deandra Dottin, captain Stafanie Taylor and Hayley Matthews. “It is tremendously important and we have expressed that as a team and it will be said again when we regroup and have our team meeting discussions because I don’t want it to be a three-way in this team especially in the batting department. We have ladies who can hold their own and who can do well and that was evident in the series in Pakistan.
“So we need players putting their hands up and giving that support so it takes a lot of pressure off Deandra, Hayley, they can relax and enjoy the game a little bit more and if other people continue to put scores on the board then we would be able to get those targets a lot easier. So, it is going to be a combined effort from everybody and as I said I don’t want it to be just those three, I want other people coming to the party as well.”
Speaking of Dottin, Walsh explained that it is important for the team that she bowls as much as possible in the World Cup. “I don’t know the level of fitness she will be at as yet but definitely we are excited to have her bowling again and hopefully if she doesn’t bowl this series, she would be ready for the World Cup – the main objective right now. As I said it is still early days, we still have a couple of days here to see how she responds, how she does.”
It will be a challenge for Captain Taylor and her players given that the South Africa women are rank number two in ODI compared to the West Indies at number seven.
However, Walsh said he was happy with the team’s progress particularly their fitness going into this match. “It is a lot more acceptable now. I was really disappointed when I had just started and so it was one of the areas that we paid a lot of attention to in the camps that we had and I must say the ladies have worked really hard, they are at a fitness level now that is acceptable but we still have a little bit more ways to go where we can say yeah we are there but we are in a much better space. The performance has shown that, the fitness level has shown that and our testing and results have shown that everybody has improved. So, yes I am happier now.”