Lack of cricket an issue for WI Women

West Indies Women’s team coach, Courtney Walsh, admits the team could be pressed for time to be fully ready to compete at the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, particularly with a lack of international and regional fixtures.

The qualifiers are expected to take place in Sri Lanka, in December of this year, giving the team just around seven months to prepare.  The presence of the coronavirus and protocols put in place to stop its transmission, however, has meant that regional competition for female cricketers has been put on hold.

It is a similar case for international fixtures, with the team having not played a series since November of last year when the Windies faced off against England.

“Not being able to play enough cricket, you would not say it is enough time but we have to try to understand the situation and work with it as best as we can,” Walsh told members of the media from Antigua where the team was gathered for a training camp.

“In an ideal world we would be able to tour and play as much cricket as we could then yes,” he added.

“It is a tickling situation, but it is something that is understandable, so we have to do what we can and get in as much as we can.  The back of the year might be a little busier coming closer to that time.  I am still hoping that we can have a couple of tours and play and have the regionals and stuff.  Once the girls are playing, I much prefer that because it gives me a better chance of seeing who is in form, seeing who is improving, who is not improving.  With them not being able to play that’s my biggest challenge.”

Walsh said he plans to focus on improving the mental and technical skills of the 30 players currently encamped in Antigua.

According to the former West Indies fast bowler turned coach, the upskilling of the women will be a continuation of what began when the women were called to camp in January this year.

Over the past few years, West Indies Women, world champions in 2016, have fallen down the pecking order in world cricket, struggling to make high scores when players like Deandra Dottin, Stafanie Taylor and Hayley Matthews fail to make big scores.

This was evident when the West Indies were swept 5-0 during a five T20 series against England in September 2020, when the side failed to achieve a score of 140 runs in any of the matches. England, meanwhile, scored over 140 runs in all but one of the matches.

Walsh believes that for that trend to end the team cannot rely on just two or three players.

“Consistency can’t be just three players. If we are playing six or seven batters, not everybody is to come off all the time but we need to have four or five batters to be consistently producing. It can’t be the same three all the time,” said Walsh, who also indicated that there are other areas in which they have to improve as well.

“They also have to be aware of the game situation, so we are going to combine both as we are going to have the batters being a lot more consistent and not just depend on two or three players.”

Walsh revealed that there are signs that the camp in January had already begun to yield positive indicators of the change required.

“We started some drills in the last camp so it will be a continuation of that. We saw where we were getting a little more consistency. We saw where we able to bat 50 overs because in the first game that didn’t happen but in the last two games that happened,” Walsh said referring to three intra-squad practice matches played while in the camp that month.

“I also think it was the mindset as well so those areas we are going to be working on, with the mental skills we are going to stay there (at the crease) and we want them to be technically sound as well to be able to deliver.” (CMC)

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