Aguilleira playing active role in cricket development

Former West Indies Women's captain Merissa Aguilleira with CWI Coach Development Manager Chris Brabazon.

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad – Retired West Indies captain Merissa Aguilleira is making additional moves to become a professional coach, saying that she wants to contribute to taking the women’s game in the region to the next level.

Aguilleira, who is also the Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) technical director (TD) for women’s cricket, participated in the face-to-face component of the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Representative Coaching Programme (Level 2) at the National Cricket Centre in Couva, Trinidad on June 13 and 14.

“I’m passionate about cricket, I have a lot of knowledge about the game. I think it would be very selfish of me not to pass it on to the next generation. I have a vision of where I want to see West Indies cricket go, so it’s really important that we have persons who are passionate about the game and willing to take up that mantle of really carrying women’s cricket and pushing it forward to the rightful position that it’s supposed to be.… It has to be in with our dedication and our commitment,” she said.

“I think when you’re a coach, all these things can tie into developing women’s cricket and really selling a brand. And once you build that coaching philosophy, and what you really want the players to look like, and you want them to be, I think that can also make West Indies cricket stronger. So, I’m passionate about this, happy that I’m getting myself involved in it, and I look forward to it.”

Aguilleira has been involved in recent cricket series, including the Trinidad & Tobago Women’s tour of Barbados in May and the Cricket West Indies Women’s Tournaments (CG United Super50 and T20 Blaze) in Guyana.

She is also playing a major role in the CWI Women’s Under-19 T20 event as Tournament Director.

Aguilleira, recognized among the most successful women’s cricketers for West Indies, said she always liked the idea of coaching and was encouraged to go in that direction.

“I remember, I spoke to someone recently when I was trying to get involved in match refereeing. And while I had another discussion with the person, I remember seeing him looking at me, and he was like, ‘you’re supposed to be a coach’. I really started to think deep within myself that this is something I really need to get myself involved in,” she said.

CWI Coach Development Manager Chris Brabazon said CWI was supporting Aguilleira’s transition into coaching as well as the broader strategic approach to recruit and train female coaches.

“There is a need for more female coaches at all levels of our West Indies Cricket Pathway across the region. If we can increase the number of female role models in our cricket, we are much better placed to engage and inspire the next generation of girls to take up the game and continue through to the senior ranks,” he said.

“We have managed to train and accredit over 150 female coaches from Foundation to Level 2 over the past two years and it is great to now be putting processes into place for Merissa and other experienced players and coaches to go on and play a key role in the High-Performance realm of West Indies cricket.

“To have Merissa involved is fantastic as she is such a knowledgeable and passionate cricket person, a well-respected figure, and a great role model for our players and coaches. So, we want to make sure that we support her on her coaching journey as much as we can,” Brabazon added.

Aguilleira started her international career in 2008 and finished in 2018 during which time she played 112 ODIs and 95 T20Is. She was a member of the T20 World Cup-winning team in the memorable final against Australia at Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 2016, the biggest success in West Indies Women’s history.

A classy right-handed batter and wicket-keeper, she captained the West Indies to the ICC Women’s World Cup final against Australia in 2013 in India and to three ICC Women’s T20 World Cup semi-finals in 2010 in St. Lucia, 2012 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (CMC)

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