West Indies stormed to the title in 2016 in India and then progressed to the semi-finals at home in 2018, but their fortunes have turned for the worse since. So much so that, among the ten teams that will turn out at this World Cup, they have the second-worst win-loss ratio (0.4) since the 2018 edition. Only Sri Lanka, who have suffered nine successive losses, have fared worse than West Indies during this period.
West Indies' drastic fall coincided with an injury to their star allrounder Deandra Dottin, who had featured in a mere three T20Is out of 15 in their lead-up to the World Cup. Dottin, though, is fit again, as is experienced seamer Shakera Selman, who had recently returned from her own injury in the T20Is against India in November last year. Shamilla Connell, who could potentially take the new ball along with Selman, has also regained full fitness. Much like the men's side, the women's team is getting the band back together in a bid to reclaim the title down under. Dottin's return, in particular, spruces up the batting line-up that was prone to collapses during their 5-0 whitewash at the hands of India at home. At the Providence, West Indies had suffered the ignominy of dawdling to 59 for 9 - their lowest-ever T20I total.
Can West Indies shake off that hangover and fire in unison as they did in 2016?
Stafanie Taylor (capt), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shemaine Campbelle (wk), Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Cherry-Ann Fraser, Sheneta Grimmond, Chinelle Henry, Lee-Ann Kirby, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed (vice-capt), Chedean Nation, Shakera Selman (coach: Gus Logie)
February 22: West Indies v Thailand, WACA
February 26: West Indies v Pakistan, Canberra
March 1: West Indies v England, Sydney Showground
March 3: West Indies v South Africa, Sydney Showground
T20 World Cup history
West Indies have been among the most consistent sides in the T20 World Cup since their first-round exit in 2009. They've made it to the knockouts - or beyond - in the past five editions, having won it in 2016. In 2018, an awful batting meltdown against eventual champions Australia cost them the semi-final at home.
West Indies will want to look away from their section. They went down 5-0 to India and have won just four out of 15 T20Is since the last World Cup. And three of those four wins had come against Ireland, who are ranked 10th in the shortest format.
Deandra Dottin can be destructive both with the bat and ball and it will be mighty difficult to stop her if she gets on a roll. The boundaries in Australia may be bigger for other players, but not so much for Dottin. But, does she still that power-hitting in her after undergoing a corrective shoulder surgery? Dottin had even told the Cricket West Indies website that she had "felt like giving up" during the rehab. Apart from Dottin and Hayley Matthews, Stafanie Taylor is the only other West Indies player with WBBL experience. The West Indies captain has had stints at Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder, making 1074 runs in 56 innings at an average of 26.19 and strike rate of 101.41. She was also in fine form in the ODIs at home against India and with Dottin just easing her way back into the set-up, West Indies will bank on Taylor to shoulder greater responsibility with the bat.
What would be a success at the tournament?
On current form, it's quite hard to imagine West Indies making the semi-finals once again, let alone reclaiming the crown. But, count them out at your own peril. If Dottin gets cracking, and the others can rally around her, West Indies can make things happen.