Aguilleira wants to win it for people
Mumbai, India –The West Indies Women’s side will be hoping to emulate the greatness of their male counterparts when the ICC Women’s World Cup India 2013 gets going this week.
The West Indies women have yet to win an ICC Global event, but have been regular participants up to the semi-final stages of competitions, which is something captain Merissa Aguilleira would like to improve on.
“We are going to India with one goal – which is to win the World Cup. We know it’s going to take a lot as we face some the game’s biggest teams like Australia, the ICC World T20 winners, and England, who are the defending champions.
“You can’t count out even Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who have been doing well. It’s a good tournament and any one of the eight teams can take it. We have to play every game as it comes and stick together as a team. It will be tough, we will be miles away from home in foreign conditions, but we have played in India before. It’s playing in a World Cup, it’s what players dream of doing,” said the experienced wicket-keeper.
The 27-year-old led her side to the semi-final of the ICC Women’s World T20 Sri Lanka 2012, while Darren Sammy’s team went on to win the men’s event. However, she isn’t dwelling on the loss against Australia in the semis after they topped their preliminary group. She is focussing instead on adjusting to the 50-over format.
“It is all about adjusting from the T20 format where we played in Sri Lanka to the 50-over format where we will be playing in India. We have had the series against South Africa which has put us in the right frame of mind for India. We didn’t go all the way in Sri Lanka, but I’m sure we showed the world how good we are at the international level.”
The Windies women have continued to improve since the last ICC Women’s World Cup in 2009, where they finished in fifth place. The team qualified for the 2013 event after winning the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2011, with losing a match. Aguilleira admitted that her team’s group for the 2013 event will not be an easy one, especially since it features current champions England, hosts India and Sri Lanka.
“England are the champs so we know they will come to win again,” said Aguilleira. “We had a few matches against them (back in 2010 at home) and we beat them, but it will be different conditions in India. They will present a stern test for any team in the tournament.
“The Sri Lankans have been progressing and we always keep a close eye on them. We can’t under-rate them. India have the home advantage and that will count for something in this tournament. They have good all-round strength and will be a force to be reckoned with,” she added.
Speaking of her own side, the Trinidadian heaped praise on her team-mates who she feels are a true unit and go out to perform their best for the team and the people of the West Indies. She singled out four players to watch, including two-time ICC Women’s Player-of-the-Year and Vice Captain Stafanie Taylor.
“You can’t underestimate any of our players. Everyone is crucial to the set-up and make-up of the side. We have some of the world’s best players in our team such as Stafanie Taylor, Deandra Dottin, Anisa Mohammed and Shanel Daley, but we also have some young players who have been coming along really well and will be the ones who will help to carry West Indies Women’s cricket forward,” Aguilleira said.
“We are in the present, and these players will no doubt feature prominently in this World Cup. Taylor is ranked Number 1 in the world and you have to give her maximum respect. Her stats are amazing but it’s not just her stats, but also her knowledge of the game and how she goes about assessing situations on and off the field.
The captain added: “Deandra is the most destructive batter in the game right now. She is the player to watch and teams always try to plan for her. She keeps everyone on their toes and sets high standards.
“Daley has improved a lot in a short space of time. She is reliable and always gives 100 percent. Her attention to detail is enviable and her commitment to fitness is what brought her the positive results we are seeing now.
“Anisa is the best spinner in the world and continues to win matches for us. You know what you will get from her – consistency, reliability, hard work and most importantly, wickets on the field.”
When talking about her team as a unit, Aguilleira, who currently has 52 ODI and has scored 818 runs and 55 dismissals, commented: “The team sticks together and we understand and really appreciate each other. The players play for each other and for the people.
“When we started as a team unit a few years back we didn’t really understand each other – as you know we come from different countries. But we have worked hard on building a team and a strong team unit. We really understand each other and once you understand people you realise how best to work with them and how to get the best out of them. You know their strength and their weaknesses – you can help enhance their strengths and help improve on their weak areas.
“The Cricket Board (WICB) has done a good job in getting us prepared to face the bigger teams and generally looking after us. All of this is part of the success and we have to continue to concentrate on what we have to do out there on the field and continue to create a winning dressing room. It’s all about unity!”
The right-handed batter rounded of the interview on a reflective note, admitting that it is important for her to lead a side who has fun while it plays its cricket.
“One of the things we do is that we go out on that field and we have fun. Once you have fun doing your job things tend to come easier and you tend to give more, even if you don’t realise it. The more you unite and motivate each other, the easier the job becomes.
“We are the ones who have been blessed with the opportunity to represent the people of the West Indies and carry on the legacy of West Indies cricket. I am proud to be a West Indian. The world is always looking at us because they know how good we are and how strong we can be. We just have to put it all on the line when we step out onto the field in India, and make each and every moment count,” she concluded.
The Windies enter the tournament full of confidence following their recent performances against South Africa in the Caribbean. They rebounded from 0-2 to tie the ODI Series 2-2, with one match being rained off. They then easily won both matches to take the two-match T20 rubber.
West Indies will have a warm-up match on Monday against Australia followed by another warm-up on Tuesday against a Local XI. They have been drawn in Group A alongside defending champions England, hosts India, and Sri Lanka. Group B will include Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa.