Let's not give up on women's cricketSaturday, September 25, 2021
Mr Courtney Walsh, head coach of West Indies Women's Cricket, is understandably disappointed at his team's recent 1-4 loss to visiting, higher-ranked South Africa in a One-Day International (ODI) series in the Caribbean.
The West Indies women also lost 1-2 to the visitors in a T20 series.
It's important to mention that the South African visit followed that of Pakistan's Women in June/July. Back then the West Indies Women defeated lower-ranked Pakistan 3-2 in an ODI series and 2-0 in T20s.
The ODI series against South Africa and Pakistan — subject to rigorous bio-secure arrangements, as is the case for all current international cricket competitions — were particularly important. That's because they were part of preparations for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women's Cricket World Cup qualifying competition set for Zimbabwe in November/December.
Th at tournament will complete the qualification process for the 2022 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.
Later this year in Zimbabwe, the West Indies will be up against Bangladesh, Ireland, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United States, and the hosts. The top three will join Australia, England, India, South Africa and hosts New Zealand at next year's World Cup.
We believe the defeat to higher-ranked South Africa, disappointing though it was, should have provided valuable experience for the West Indies women who were without top all rounder and captain Ms Stafanie Taylor.
We agree with Mr Walsh that while losing the series was “a setback”, it also provided “a good yardstick about where we are and what we need to do”.
As has been the case for the men's team in all formats, the regional women cricketers were let down by poor and inconsistent batting against South Africa.
There is no doubt that much of that is the result of an absence of organised competition at the regional and local levels because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. This is despite training camps and the like, which we are happy to say were organised in Antigua ahead of the Pakistan and South Africa tours.
But nothing beats actual competition which, beyond any other consideration, is the best way to unveil fresh, young talent.
It's difficult and time has almost run out, but it seems to us that Cricket West Indies must find a way to provide some kind of competition at the regional and/or local levels for West Indies women ahead of the Zimbabwe tournament.
Beyond the World Cup qualifiers and next year's World Cup, serious thought has to be given across the Caribbean to a proper development programme for cricket in schools.
We are aware that pre-COVID-19 in Jamaica, planning and basic organisation were taking place for a pilot competition for a few high schools. The Jamaica Cricket Association and the schools led by the Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association must get back to that stage, post-COVID-19.
It's going to take time, and resources are chronically inadequate, but if Jamaica's cricket authorities, regional counterparts, and Cricket West Indies pay proper attention, Caribbean women's cricket can regain the high of 2016 when Ms Taylor and her team shocked the world by winning the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup.