West Indies women's coach Andre Coley calls on batters to step up against England
Warm-up matches provide optimism for touring party ahead of T20I series
West Indies women's interim head coach Andre Coley has called upon his team's batters to step up and take responsibility in their T20I series against England. In the T20 World Cup earlier this year, West Indies did well with the ball, with their medium-pacers and spinners proving difficult to hit. But with the bat, Stafanie Taylor was the leading run-scorer despite an underwhelming aggregate of 84 in three innings, and only one player, Shemaine Campbelle, maintained a strike rate above 100 (min. 10 balls faced). In particular, Hayley Matthews and Deandra Dottin will be expected to contribute more in this series, after returns of 26 and 12 runs respectively in that tournament. On West Indies' tour to England last summer, no player made a half-century across three ODIs and a T20I - although Matthews made 107* in the T20I series against Ireland, with Taylor and Chedean Nation both hitting fifties.
"White-ball cricket, and T20 cricket specifically, is about scoring runs," Coley said on the eve of the first T20I. "If you watch the history of our cricket, our bowling department has always held its own, done well and been competitive.
"[But] we'll need to post challenging totals and be able to chase them as well. We need to be clear in our roles for each player, and how we want to go about the batting, and we should be okay."
Coley said that he took particular encouragement from the fact that no team was bowled out across the two intra-squad warm-up matches, with standout performances from captain Taylor (71 off 52 balls) and Lee-Ann Kirby (85 off 63 balls) in the first and second games respectively.
"It's very good that in all innings that were played, we batted the full complement of overs," Coley said. "And there were individual performances as well as partnerships throughout. It was good for everyone to have had some time out in the middle in a competitive environment, which we haven't had for a while.
"We're very confident, and buoyed by that. From a bowling standpoint, we're happy that we've been hitting our marks. We're all very capable physically too, and have gone through our fielding exercises and we're very comfortable [with that]."
Monday's T20I will be the first between two Full-Member women's teams since the T20 World Cup final in March - although Germany and Austria played a series in mid-August - and Coley said that it reflected well on West Indies that they will have been involved in the first major internationals since Covid-19 struck.
"I'm very happy from our standpoint, in terms of West Indies cricket," he said. "We were able to do it with the men, to restart international men's cricket, and again we are here restarting women's cricket. That says a lot for the passion in the West Indies, our commitment to the game and so on, in a world where everyone is trying to cope.
"We're looking forward to that opportunity to be out on the park. The ECB has done well in terms of putting things together in such a way that we have been protected here and have gone through our preparations well. We're looking forward to help restart women's cricket internationally - it only augurs well for the game."
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98