Jul 01, 2022 Sports
WI Women’s Captain want to play Test Cricket
By Sean Devers
Barbadian Hayley Matthews led Barbados to its fourth 50-over title last Saturday in Guyana and was recently appointed West Indies Women’s Captain to replace Jamaican Stefanie Taylor who will continue to play in the side.
Speaking on last Tuesday Night’s ‘Sean Devers Sports Watch’ on Kaieteur Radio, the 24-year-old Matthews spoke about her early days in cricket, her team’s performance in this season’s Regional 50-over and T20 tournaments, what she thinks could be done to improve the Women’s game in the West Indies, next month’s Commonwealth Games, the inaugural women’s CPL and her desire to play Test cricket.
The double defending champions, who lost just one game in Guyana, were dethroned in the T20 Blaze on a superior net run rate by Jamaica after both teams finished on 16 points, while they retained the CG United super50 Cup, winning their third consecutive title.
The charismatic Matthews said despite the unavailability of Deandra Dottin and the injury to pacer Shamilia Connell, the top order consistently produced, while apart from the final when they dropped a few catches, the fielding was of a high standard and bowling was good.
Matthews, the leading scorer in both formats, was high in praise of the Knight twins and the work of Aaliyah Williams who stepped in when Connell got injured.
Barbados conceded the most extras in the tournament including 53 in T&T’s 133 all out and Matthews, who also captured the All-Rounder Award, admitted that this was the biggest area of concern heading to Commonwealth Games in the UK where the ball will swing more.
Head Coach Corrie Collymore and his Assistant Ryan Hinds, who was a 17-year-old when the Barbados men’s team participated in the 1998 Games in Malaysia, will also be the Coaches as Barbados Women travel to England.
Barbados will face Pakistan on July 29, Australia next day before battling India on August 3. The two top teams from each group will advance.
“We will have a week rest and resume sessions for the Commonwealth Games and the extras we conceded in Guyana will be addressed. It will be challenging for us since Australia and India are in our group. Deandra is back and that will be a massive boast for us. It will be a learning experience for the younger players and that will be the biggest benefit for us,” said Matthews, who along with Dottin were the Bajan batters who participated in last month’s Franchise in Dubai.
The inaugural Women’s CPL will be played in St Kitts with Matthews being appointed Captain of the Barbados Royals.
“The Girls are looking forward to this since we had trials in Trinidad in 2019. We are excited about and this is great for Women’s cricket in the West Indies. There are three strong teams (B’dos Royals, Guyana Amazon Warriors &Trinbago Knight Riders) and it will be entertaining with high scores,” promised Matthews, who has scored three centuries and six fifties and taken 78 wickets in 69 WODIs.
Matthews says she performs better and is more comfortable in ODIs where she spends more time at the crease and knows what she has to do and when to change gears.
“In T20s you need the score quicker…take more risks. I am still trying to figure out the best approach for me in T20 cricket,” continued Matthews, who has a century and four fifties and 56 wickets in 61 WT20Is.
Taylor and Dottin are the two most experienced batters while off-spinner Anisa Mohammed has been the leading bowler, yet they have not played a single Test match. The last Test match played by the West Indies Women was in 2004. Between their first Test in 1976 and their last, West Indies have only played 12 Tests.
Matthews says it’s her desire to play in a Women’s Test match before her career is over.
“Yes! I would love to play Test cricket, as we speak South Africa are playing England in a Women’s Test match. Most people say we are better at ODIs or T20s but Test cricket gives you the opportunity to spend more time at the crease and I think it will help our ODI cricket. We have seen a lot more Women’s Test cricket being played recently,” informed Matthews, who gave her views on how to improve Women’s cricket regionally.
“I believe Barbados is strong in Women’s Cricket because we have a strong core at the moment and some very experienced players in our camp. The BCA is doing a lot more for Women’s cricket for the last few years but with that being said there needs to be structures put in place throughout the Region if we hope to see West Indies Women’s cricket improve.
Trinidad has a fairly good structure down there but when you look at the other places like Guyana, Jamaica…the Leewards and Windwards…they need a lot more improvement.
I hope CWI can invest more in the structure of Women’s cricket at the Regional Boards since it will make West Indies cricket stronger. I think having cricket (Boys & Girls) in Secondary Schools is very important and there should be a programme where past and present male and female players visit schools to coach and inspire the students that if they work hard, one day they could play for their Country and West Indies,” suggested Matthews, who hit 66 off 45 balls in 2016 World Cup Final to help her team chase down Australia’s 149 and win their first world title.
Matthews said she became interested in cricket at age six when she and her brother would tag along to the Kensington Oval with their Dad Michael Matthews, who played and coached there.
She played in her Primary School’s Boy team at second grade and was the Captain in fourth grade.
“I joined the Wanderers Cricket Club which produced Chris Jordan, Jason Holder, Kirk Edward and West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite. I went through Boys cricket until I got into women’s cricket at 10 and made my Barbados debut at 12. I was eight and playing U19 cricket with Dottin and Selman,” said the elegant right-hander.
The multi-talented lass, who won Gold in Javelin at the 2015 Carifta Games, a year after she made her West Indies T20I debut in 2014 against New Zealand, scored 55 in her first ODl against Australia the same year.
She says being West Indies Captain should not affect her cricket since she has been Barbados Captain and still able to perform with bat and ball and knows she will get support from senior players including Taylor whom she has learnt a lot from since making the team as a 16-year-old.
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