Matthews upbeat ahead of T20 series against hosts England

Cricket

Matthews upbeat ahead of T20 series against hosts England

BY SANJAY MYERS
Senior staff reporter
myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

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WEST INDIES Women cricketer Hayley Matthews says the series against England will provide the chance to show they are better than the team that failed embarrassingly at the Twenty20 (T20) World Cup earlier this year.

West Indies, the 2016 T20 champions and semi-finalists two years later, crashed out at the group stage of the 2020 edition, which was held from February to March in Australia.

Their lone victory came against upstarts Thailand, while they suffered losses to Pakistan and England.

The West Indies' final preliminary game — against eventual group winners South Africa — was abandoned due to rain. Australia lifted a record-extending fifth global T20 title after beating India in the final.

“As a team we want to come out and redeem ourselves after the World Cup and just show we're not the team that played that World Cup — we are a lot better than that. We would have seen it at the 2016 World Cup, [and] the 2018 World Cup,” Matthews said during a virtual media interaction from the team's base in Derby recently.

Outside of Australia and West Indies, England, this year's semi-finalists, are the only ones to have won the women's T20 crown.

The English women are quite formidable in home conditions, something the attacking opener is acutely aware of.

However, she feels the extended camp in Derby could work in favour of West Indies, who are guided by interim Head Coach Andre Coley.

“I think they are a very good side. They've obviously shown that over the last couple of years. But coming down here we live at the ground and train at the ground…so we are looking at it and thinking of it as our home ground a little bit. I think it's going to be a case of playing good cricket overall,” said Matthews, who has played 50 T20 Internationals, highlighted by a top score of 107 not out.

“It's always going to be a tough series when we play England at home, but I think we have the talent and skill in the [West Indies] dressing room. Everyone's hungry and really wanting to go out there and prove everyone wrong about how we did at the World Cup,” the Barbadian continued.

All five upcoming T20 matches between England and West Indies are scheduled to be contested behind closed doors in a biosecure environment at Incora County Ground in Derby from September 21 to 30.

In July, the West Indies men's team lost 1-2 to hosts England in a three-Test series under similar arrangements aimed at reducing the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Since the World Cup final in March the women's game has been at a standstill due to the pandemic.

The regional women's tournament was among competitions affected as Cricket West Indies was forced to shut down numerous events on its calendar.

Matthews, who scored only 26 runs in three innings at the World Cup, told journalists that while the time away from the game was important, she welcomes the return to competitive action.

“I think it was kind of good that everyone has had that mental break, kind of got away from the game and had a look at what we weren't doing so well.

“Personally, I was able to get back in the nets for Barbados and just work pretty hard on my game. [I was] able to sort out some stuff that I saw were going wrong technically. Hopefully, I'm able to go out and execute those skills that I've been working on over the past couple of months,” the batter, who also bowls useful off spin, said.

“We have been on break for a while now, so just to be able to get going again is obviously very exciting. It's also a very historic tour — it's going to be the first women's tour since the pandemic, so we're just hoping we can get a lot of the other boards seeing that cricket at this point is feasible and just get some more cricket going on around the world,” Matthews urged.

She added: “From the first day we came [arrived in England] we knew what the protocols were. We were told and given everything we needed so it was just a matter of coming and getting into the training. I think it's been helpful, kind of limit distractions and you get to focus on the cricket a bit more.

“Obviously, [these are] unusual circumstances but I think the girls are settling in quite nicely. The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) has done a really good job of making us feel comfortable since we've been over here.”

Off-spinner Anisa Mohammed, who has played a combined 100 matches in One-Day International and T20 formats, declined the invitation to be a part of the squad to England due to virus concerns. Matthews argued that the team will be able to cope despite Mohammed's absence.

“It's unfortunate she wasn't able to be here. She's one of our most experienced bowlers, but I think we have a lot of bowlers in our side. I have no doubt we have enough skill and talent to go out there and execute really well and be able to restrict the England batters,” she told journalists.

Squad – Stafanie Taylor, Afy Fletcher, Hayley Matthews, Aaliyah Alleyne, Cherry Ann Fraser, Natasha McLean, Shemaine Campbelle, Shabika Gajnabi, Chedean Nation, Britney Cooper, Sheneta Grimmond, Karishma Ramharack, Shamilia Connell, Chinelle Henry, Kaysia Schultz, Deandra Dottin, Lee Ann Kirby, Shakera Selman


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