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WI’s women ‘success’ no overnight achievement
Beating Australia at any form of cricket is always a major triumph and West Indies’ women conquered that particular challenge wonderfully well in the International Cricket Council’s Women’s World Cup semifinal to earn a berth in Sunday’s final.
In praising her team for the success during the Super 6 matches, captain Merissa Aguillera identified the team effort made by the women as being of signal importance: this was no one-woman show, but rather the result of consistency amongst the players and the understanding that everyone has to make an effort.
That spirit and effort were comprehensively displayed in the game against New Zealand, when leading run-getter Stephanie Taylor, who is the ICC 2012 ODI Cricketer of the Year, was short of runs. Into the gap flowed Shanel Daley and Anisa Mohammed, to give the team the impetus for victory.
Not satisfied with their performances with the bat, Taylor, Mohammed and the rest of the team were super efficient in the field against the Kiwis. It was the first victory by the West Indian women over New Zealand and one that the Caribbean women well deserved. A similar slide by those at the top of the batting order occurred against Australia. It was then left up to the likes of Deandra Dottin and Shaquana Quintyne to take the team to a respectable total which proved too good for the experienced and dynamic Australians.
However, it should be noted that reaching the finals of the ICC tournament was not an overnight achievement for the West Indies women’s team. Over the last two years at least, the Windies women have been showing consistent improvement in their game. Not only have the individual batting and bowling skills been improving, but the appetite for battle—something their male counterparts often fail to demonstrate when in a corner—has been evident in the play of the women.
Having beaten the highly favoured Australians in the semis will give quite a boost to the confidence of the Windies women for the final against the Aussies on Sunday. With the West Indian men’s team now being the ICC T20 world champions, it would be good for West Indian cricket if the women were to continue their form of this series and bring the championship title back from India so that the WI will be on top in the two shorter forms of the game.
But the West Indies Cricket Board, win, lose or draw on Sunday, cannot be satisfied with the level of success of the two teams. What is clearly needed is to infuse the teams, especially the men’s team, with the capacity to be able to carry into Test cricket the intensity that has been shown by both men and women of late in the T20 and 50-over games.
The West Indian players, men and women, obviously have the ability; the focus must be on the mental preparation required for Test match cricket. No doubt all of the West Indies will be willing the women on in Sunday’s final, congratulating them on their progress to this point and wishing them the best of luck.
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