The return of women’s cricket is now just days away, with the West Indies Cricket team landing on their chartered planes on English shores. West Indies will face England in a 5-match T20I series, starting on 21st September.
The West Indies Board allowed the women’s team to make the trip after a similar last-minute trip arrangement had to be made for the men’s series after various players and staff in the Pakistan Cricket team contracted COVID-19. In this case, the South African Women’s team was denied permission by the board due to safety concerns. However, women’s cricket is finally on its’ way back, and as West Indies captain, Stafanie Taylor, rightly puts it “(it’s) a great feeling.”
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) September 2, 2020
The 18-member West Indies squad is without the services of the veteran, Anisa Mohammed. West Indies board had given its’ players an option to decline the tour due to any safety concerns, and the off-spinner understandably denied. Taking her place is a debutant, Kasia Schultz, who, along with her teammates, will be hosted at the bio-secure environment set up at Derby’s home ground, Incora County Ground. The English Women had earlier used this facility for their training sessions in the lead-up to this series.
Talking about the exciting return of women’s cricket, Stafanie Taylor said, “We definitely need this – women’s cricket needs this. To see what happened in that recently-concluded World Cup, when there were 80,000 people at the ground [for the final] and a lot of people watching… it’s good to see that we’re back up and running.”
West Indies’ last tour of England wasn’t one to remember, as they were whitewashed 3-0 in the ODI’s and 1-0 in T20I’s. In addition to this, the Caribbean women are coming into this series a bit rusty, with no preparations of sort preceding the series. This is in contrast to the English, who’ve had individual practice for months now and some intra-squad matches in recent days. However, the West Indies captain remains optimistic about her team’s chances and hopes to use her experience at Kia Super League, with stints at Southern Vipers and Western Storm.
“The ball swings everywhere you go [in England], so it’s about applying yourself. I like playing in England – it’s a challenge, but sometimes it’s good to have these challenges. We’re just coming back as well, [so] it’s going to take a while, but at least the few weeks that we have will definitely help us going into our first game.”
While the German and Austrian women’s team have already played a series post the COVID-19 pause, this will be the first time two full nations face off. Here’s hoping a safe and splendid return of women’s cricket!
News Source: Matt Roller for ESPN Cricinfo