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Deandra Dottin proves she's still 'WoR£d B¤$$'

She's changed her Twitter handle, but her World Cup heroics might warrant a reversion to the old one

Annesha Ghosh
Annesha Ghosh
Until not so long ago, Deandra Dottin's Twitter name was "WoR£d B¤$$". The inspiration behind the name was another tattooed, dreadlocked dispenser of misery feared by every opposition, "Universe Boss" Chris Gayle, whom Dottin has long admired.
The essence of "WoR£d B¤$$" was perfectly in sync with what Dottin has long done on a cricket field: own it like it's her private property. Her current Twitter name - her name - may not be as fun or audacious, but she's still every bit both on the field. Three games into West Indies' World Cup campaign, Dottin has left a crater-sized imprint on the tournament.
In the tournament-opener against New Zealand, she forced a last-minute change in West Indies' bowling plans and forced herself into the centre of their successful defence of five runs off the last six balls. Dottin had only bowled 11 overs in international cricket over the three previous years, and none in training heading into the game; she capped the match off with 1W1WW. It was equal parts heroic and preposterous.
"She believes that she could win the game even when it's almost impossible," says West Indies head coach Courtney Walsh. "She's a very confident individual within herself and even if she has a bad game, she doesn't show it, but she backs herself all the time."
The New Zealand cliffhanger wasn't the first time Dottin had dealt a final, fatal blow with the ball in a World Cup game. In the 2016 T20 World Cup final, the crowning glory of West Indies Women's cricket history, she bowled a double-wicket, one-run 20th over to help restrict defending champions Australia to 148 for 5. The target eventually proved inadequate and, fittingly, it was Dottin who finished the game with an unbeaten 18 off 12.
Dottin's big-hitting chops have long enjoyed greater renown than her skiddy medium-pace. Her maiden international century was the fastest in all T20Is, women's or men's, for over seven years until South Africa's David Miller bettered her 38-ball effort by three balls in 2017. In the women's game, Dottin's record still stands.
At this World Cup, Dottin's striking skills have been on full view. During West Indies' eventually botched chase of 318 on Saturday, Dottin's 46-ball 62 and her blistering opening stand with Hayley Matthews gave India "a little bit of a heart attack in the first 10 overs," in the words of their opener Smriti Mandhana.
Dottin had brought out her best with the bat when she was braving recurring back and leg niggles. Her ability to absorb pressure and pain has impressed Walsh, West Indies' highest wicket-taker in Tests, ever since he began working with the women's team in late 2019. "She's fully committed to do whatever she can in the team, she believes in herself and backs herself, which is very, very good," he says.
Then he gives Dottin the ultimate compliment, seeing echoes in her "never-say-die attitude [and] her self-belief" of one of his most celebrated team-mates. "Viv Richards was something like that in the dressing room [or] when he was out in the field, you know he was going to give his 100%. And that's all you can ask for," Walsh says. "She reminds me of him a little bit."
For someone so good at - and passionate about - the sport, Dottin has admitted she was "never really a cricket fan" when she started out. It was only because life as a dual athlete demanded more out of her than she could give in her mid-teens that she chose cricket over athletics despite having excelled at short-distance running, javelin, discus, shot-put in her early teens.
The strong grounding in track and field, and her natural athletic gifts, however, went on to aid her evolution into a top-drawer all-round cricketing package, sought after in leagues all over the world. To an already jam-packed gallery of breathtaking fielding efforts, one of which even landed her in hospital straight out of a WBBL game in December 2016, she added another last week.
"I think I had the best seat in the house to see that," says Anisa Mohammed, the West Indies vice-captain, about Dottin's one-handed catch of Lauren Winfield-Hill against England which the former West Indies fast bowler and broadcaster Ian Bishop described as "a catch and a half." Completed mid-air at full stretch with her non-dominant left hand, the grab gave West Indies their first opening in their second successive successful defence at the World Cup.
"I think Deandra is one of those persons - she sets a very high standard for herself and in whatever aspect of the game she plays," says Mohammed. "And to see her come out and execute, I think that was a crucial moment in the game. Deandra is a game-changer whether she's with bat, ball or in the field. And I think it was a spectacular catch, and I know that we would continue to get more from Deandra."
Dottin's long-time team-mate Shakera Selman calls her "a typical allrounder, who is going to do well regardless of whatever pressure we're on or whatever pressure she's under." She adds that Dottin has "grown tremendously as a leader," through her vice-captaincy stints in the recent past, "always offering suggestions to all the youngsters - even to the senior players when we're trying to make crucial decisions."
Walsh has a similar take on Dottin's growth. He calls her a "dream" multifaceted cricketer who has only got better and hungrier since suffering a career-threatening shoulder injury in early 2019, which grounded her for months, and put her on the brink of quitting the game and into the depths of depression.
"She has come back in a lot hungrier after the injury," Walsh says. "What I've seen is she's a dream [for] a coach to find, have in a team, to perform, to what she can do because she can set the game up for you from the get-go. And if she performs the way that she can, she [would] help us win more games than we lose."
Perhaps a reversion to "WoR£d B¤$$" is warranted on Dottin's part.

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha