West Indies women set for tough home season
Clyde Butts, the chairman of the West Indies selection committee, believes England and New Zealand women's tour to the region this season will help develop the women's game locally.
New Zealand arrive first for a bilateral ODI series with West Indies beginning October 6, which will be followed by a T20 tri-series also featuring Ashes-winners England, who will stay back for a three-match one-day tournament which culminates on November 3.
"We need these tests and rivalries. To have two of the three top women's teams playing in the Caribbean will do a lot for women's cricket and I expect our team to be ready and able to be competitive against them," he said. "We always want to play top-level opponents like Australia and now, we have two. We've clashed with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the past and with England and New Zealand, I can only see us improving by playing them."
West Indies have announced a 17-member training squad, which will be preparing from September 22 to 30 in Jamaica; with the final squad of 13 for the series against New Zealand chosen at the camp's end and Butt was optimistic about the home team's prospects.
"Looking at the past year or so, our ladies have done well," he said. "At the last ODI World Cup, we made the finals and our 50-over squad reflects how good we are. Most of the players from that tournament have been retained. They are capable and we saw this in the regional performances (last month in Grenada)."
He picked out 18-year old uncapped batsman, Chinelle Henry, as one to watch. "Chinelle is a capable player and strikes the ball very nicely. We expect some good things from her in the future. She has been around the Jamaica team for a long time, but she is still very young," said Butts, while voicing concern over the high reliance on senior players like Stafanie Taylor, Deandra Dottin and Anisa Mohammed. "I haven't seen much new talent coming through and I hope it changes. We need new players to emerge to blood in."
However, Butts was excited at the return of Stacy-Ann King, who last played for West Indies during the World T20 last year. "Stacy can play at the highest level. She's been batting well recently and her bowling's improved. She's one of our better fielders and is a capable allrounder. She still has a lot to offer West Indies cricket so we shouldn't write her off just yet."
Squad: Merissa Aguilleira, Shemaine Campbell, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Chinelle Henry, Stacy-Ann King, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Natasha McLean, Anisa Mohammed, Subrina Munroe, Juliana Nero, June Ogle, Shaquana Quintyne, Shakera Selman, Tremayne Smartt and Stafanie Taylor.
Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets here