Barbados and West Indies captain Hayley Matthews has said she had no warning that Deandra Dottin was planning to retire from international cricket midway through the Commonwealth Games, and is planning to discuss the matter with her team-mate now that their campaign in Birmingham is over.
Matthews, who was appointed as West Indies captain in June, said she was as surprised as anyone by Dottin’s shock announcement via Twitter on Monday, citing concerns over the team environment.
“Thankful to Deandra for everything she’s done for West Indies cricket,” Matthews said when asked about her reaction to Dottin’s decision. “She’s obviously been a wonderful player for us over the last couple of years, and it’s sad to see her go, but at the same time if it’s something that she’s ready for, then supporting her 100 per cent.”
Matthews said she hadn’t spoken to Dottin before the announcement and that she had “no interpretation” of Dottin’s comments about the team culture and environment.
“[I’m] obviously down here representing Barbados and everything, so probably not looking to speak too much on that at the moment,” Matthews said on Wednesday after her side suffered a 100-run defeat against India in their final Group A game. “But yeah, I definitely would have a chat with her and see how things go.”
Barbados won their opening match of the Commonwealth Games against Pakistan by 15 runs before losing by nine wickets to gold-medal favourites Australia on Sunday.
The following day, Dottin published a letter addressed to Cricket West Indies on Twitter announcing her “formal retirement from the senior women’s West Indies team effective 1st July 2022”. Dottin, who has a contract to play in the Hundred for Manchester Originals and will captain Trinbago Knight Riders in the Women’s CPL, also said that she was “looking forward to playing domestic cricket around the world”.
“There have been many obstacles during my cricket career that I have had to overcome, however, the current climate and team environment has been non-conducive to my ability to thrive and reignite my passion,” Dottin wrote in her announcement. “With much sadness but without regret, I realise that I am no longer able to adhere to team culture and team environment as it has undermined my ability to perform excellently.”
Dottin, the scorer of the fastest century in Women’s T20Is and West Indies’ most-capped international cricketer, having played 124 T20Is and 143 ODIs for them, had a lacklustre Commonwealth Games. She played three T20Is for Barbados, scoring 8, 8 and 0, and taking 1 for 65 from six overs in the tournament.
When she juggled a catch running from point to short cover, the ball bouncing out of her hand and onto her chin before she held on at the second grab to dismiss India’s Taniya Bhatia off Matthew’s bowling on Wednesday, the Barbados team-mates shared a laugh and a warm hug.
While Matthews said she was “a bit disappointed with the result” against India, she was proud of what her team had achieved with a mix of seven West Indies-capped players among a clutch of players without prior international experience.
“I think we put up a really good fight,” Matthews said. “The highlight was our first game against Pakistan and winning one out of three I think is better than a lot of people expected us to do. So although we didn’t have the result we wanted today, I still think we had a great tournament, and the girls were able to learn a lot for sure.
“Hopefully spurs West Indies and the entire Caribbean to want to put more into women’s cricket within the Caribbean. I think they’re doing a great job now. We just had our regional tournament, and if over the next couple of years we can continue to grow our domestic set-up, hopefully, we can see some younger players that we had today being able to compete at the highest level.”
Having had her first taste of international captaincy with Barbados, who secured a place at the Commonwealth Games on the strength of being T20 Blaze champions in 2019, Matthews was keen to carry on with West Indies.
“I would have learned a lot just throughout these three games, taking responsibility and working with a lot of the younger players who weren’t as experienced at this level,” she said. “The support I’ve gotten from the team has been amazing.
“You probably think that the pinnacle of the career is if you can lead out your nation or your country, so I think [it was] definitely something I eyed up. But [I’m] just grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity to lead not only Barbados but the region as well and really humbled by it.”