Tony Cozier on West Indies cricket

Way to go, Windies Women!

Tino Best credits Fire In Babylon, the documentary highlighting Viv Richards and the times when the West Indies ruled supreme, for his new-found attitude. Other current players mention it as a motivating factor.

They should find further inspiration in the achievements of another West Indies team of current vintage.

While the men continue to flounder in the lower reaches of the international tables, their female counterparts are making rapid progress towards the peak of their game.

Their recent triumph over India in the home series, both in the Twenty20s and ODI contests, was over opponents ranked fourth to the long established dominant trio of Australia, England and New Zealand.

It was further evidence of their continuing rise following their semi-final placing in the Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean in 2010 (when they defeated England on the way) and their claiming of the ICC Women’s Challenge in South Africa later that year.

Contrast those results with others not so long ago – defeat in all six ODIs by Sri Lanka at home in 2003 and all five on a tour of India a year later.

Now the “amazing” (to use coach Sherwin Campbell’s term) Stephanie Taylor, aged 20, is ranked No. 1 on both the ICC’s batting and all-rounders’ list . No male West Indian has come close to such a combination since the system was introduced.

The dashing Deandra Dottin, also 20, is No. 7 in the batting.

Her 38-ball 100 (with nine sixes) against South Africa in St Kitts in the World Twenty20 in 2010 remains the fastest in the shortest form of the game by either woman or man. Move over, Chris Gayle!

Taylor rates fifth among the bowlers, spinner Anisa Mohammed sixth.

Captain Merisa Aquillera and Juliana Nero (batting) and Shannel Daley (bowling) are in the top 20.

Women’s cricket remains a peripheral sport, both internationally and regionally. But the WICB has begun to pay it more attention, placing players on retainer contracts, retaining Campbell as full-time coach and organizing m ore bi-lateral series and an annual regional tournament. 

Still, especially in these parts, it receives less publicity than it deserves.

It is not constantly torn by the strife between board and players ’ association. It has been hardly noticed by politicians, if at all. No selection panel has had to resign.      

Come to think of it, that might well explain why the women are do ing so well. The men should take note.

Fri, 03/16/2012 - 05:10