By Neto Baptiste
Head coach for the West Indies Women’s team and legendary former fast bowler, Courtney Walsh, said his most difficult task will be ensuring that his players remain focused and ready for the task at hand following their return from Oman over the weekend.
The team was forced to spend 11 days in quarantine before returning home after the International Cricket Council (ICC) in late November, announced that the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2021 in Zimbabwe has been called off following a number of Covid-19 positive tests amongst the Sri Lanka party to include staff and players.
“That’s going to be the big challenge because we had a break and didn’t get to play as much cricket as we wanted to play for them to get that exposure, so I don’t want to use the words ‘starting over again’ but it is going to be something similar where we are going to have to restart or reset and see how best we can get things going to have everybody clicking again. Players were now making runs and the confidence level was getting higher and better and I guess we can build on that. So, when we come back into camp we have to start trying to build on that again to see how best can sort of keep things going,” he said.
West Indies had won their first match against Ireland by six wickets and were slated to face Sri Lanka at Harare Sports Club before that match was abandoned.
Walsh said that although coming at a time when the squad had seemingly started to jell, the experience proved a unifying experience for all involved.
“I also think it shows good depth in the team in terms of the thought process and people looking out for each other, so this was a good challenge in a way and the positive we will take out of this is that it is probably the first time we would have experienced anything like this, and it brought us more together but it also gave us the experience that if it should happen again that we would be in a better position to handle it a little better,” he said.
Walsh, who was appointed in October of 2020 is, however, hoping for some competitive matches ahead of the ICC tournament starting March next year.
“Obviously, we were supposed to go to South Africa on a tour but because of what’s happening there now we can’t, so we are looking to see what are the best options as to how we can get some cricket in before we go to the World Cup, so that is paramount and very important in terms of getting some games under our belt. We are trying to plan and seeing what can be done and, hopefully, we can get some kind of a series played before we get there. It’s pretty challenging but at least, what I can say is that we are looking at worst case scenario, is to have a camp before we leave out of these ports so we could get some training and cricketing skills on the way,” the former player said.
West Indies will face hosts New Zealand in the opening match of the Women’s ODI World Cup in Tauranga on March 4. Six-time winners Australia will meet defending champions England at Seddon Park in Hamilton the following day, while India, last edition’s runners-up, will face Pakistan in another marquee fixture in Tauranga on March 6.