Fitness doubts over their two marquee batters have left West Indies sweating ahead of tomorrow’s crucial ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup clash against Ireland.
Both captain Hayley Matthews and her predecessor Stafanie Taylor were forced off the field during Wednesday’s six-wicket defeat to India at Newlands, and find themselves in a race against time to recover.
And while head coach Courtney Walsh remained positive about a possible return for Matthews, he said Taylor was still being “evaluated” but was less definitive about a timeline for her recovery.
“[Taylor] is still on the medical tier. She’s been rested, evaluated, but the most important thing is to make sure that the athlete is okay, so we’re taking every precaution that is necessary to ensure that her health comes first and then once we get the updates on that, we can sort of look to progress,” Walsh told a media conference here today.
“But at this point in time, we’re just doing everything to make sure that the athlete is okay. She’s well rested … but her health comes first, so we’re going to make sure that she’s okay.”
Taylor, 31, only returned last week from a five-month injury layoff, and top-scored for West Indies with 42 against India.
She is the Caribbean side’s most experienced batsman and her absence in a must-win game will be a huge blow.
Matthews, meanwhile, has led the batting in Taylor’s absence and Walsh said there was “good news” surrounding her possible participation against Ireland.
“She came off the field and was a very major concern for us but the good news this morning is that she has rested well and the next 24 hours you will know,” Walsh explained.
“But she’s a lot more positive than the others so it’s a good sign. She’s a fighter, she’s tough … we’ve got some good fighters in the set-up, but Hayley’s one and she knows her body well and she will struggle a little bit. [She] did the right thing by coming [off] and I think that she’ll be okay.”
West Indies lost their opener to England last weekend and their subsequent defeat to India saw them slump to fourth in Group 2, leaving them with must-win games against Ireland and Pakistan in order to keep alive their final four hopes.
Unbeaten England and India lead the group with four points with Pakistan third on two points, and winless Ireland bottom on net run rate.
West Indies are on a 15-game losing streak in T20 Internationals following a run of poor form in recent months but Walsh said it was important the side begins to execute properly.
“We have to try to motivate them and that’s what I’ve been doing right out as a coach. The result hasn’t been going our way. It’s not like we’ve been playing poor, poor cricket. We have been playing that way and the result hasn’t been going our way.
“We’ve lost a couple of close ones but we have not been executing consistently as a team and that’s what we want to try and get from a coaching perspective – to get the players out and execute with their ability.
“There’s disappointment, but it doesn’t stop us from trying to still improve in the areas that we need to improve on. And we have seen some improvement in some of the areas, but we haven’t seen it to get us over the line as yet,” Walsh said.