WEST INDIES Women captain Hayley Matthews plans to lead by example with the bat for the maroon’s upcoming T20 Tri-Series which bowls off against hosts South Africa at Buffalo Park in East London on Saturday.
The tournament also features India Women’s team and serves as ample preparation for the three nations ahead of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa on February 11.
Matthews, 24, said her team’s batting consistency needs to be bolstered ahead of and throughout the Tri-Series, and she plans to take a leading role.
During Wednesday’s pre-tournament press conference, the Bajan all-rounder emphasized the importance of her taking responsibility, not only from a captain’s perspective, but also as one of the more experienced batters on the team.
“The squad we have right now, as a batter, just wanting to go in and take some responsibility since I’m one of the more senior batters we have.
“Definitely looking to go out there and take some responsibility and bat a lot of overs and at the same time, play my free natural scoring game and hopefully get to go out there and play some electric cricket.
“Hopefully as a team, and hopefully as batters, to go out there and perform a bit better. With more senior players coming back into the side, we definitely hope this is one area we can improve in.” Matthews’ 16-member squad was strengthened with the return of veteran Stafanie Taylor but also boasts some young, eager talent. The skipper believes the right fusion between both generations of players can augur well for the team against both top-flight cricketing nations.
“It’s really good to have a lot of our players back. We had a couple of injuries over the past couple months which at the same time would have given some of the younger players really good opportunity.
“But to have the senior core back, really gives us a strong team coming into a series like this. We’re thankful to have her (Taylor) back and know she’s been the gel of this team for quite some time now and has so much experience and knowledge on the game.
“Hopefully she gets an opportunity to go out there and get things rolling before the World Cup comes up.”
The West Indies Women will play at least four matches, playing two matches each against South Africa and India. The two leading teams will then play each other in the Tri-Series final on February 2. All matches in the Tri-Series will be played at the Buffalo Park.
Looking ahead at the T20 World Cup, Matthews said the Tri-Series serves as a good gauge of her team’s abilities.
“Heading into the T20 World Cup, we’re probably going in as underdogs. We have not much to lose. We’ve got a fairly good set of young and new players in the setup and if we can just go out there and play some really fearless cricket, at the same time, just try to be smart with it.
“It gives us a really good opportunity to play as best as we can and most importantly, have fun. There are a lot of new players in the setup, once we can go out there and try to enjoy ourselves, I think that’s when we West Indians get a good opportunity to play our best brand of cricket.”
WI Women’s Team for
Hayley Matthews (captain), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shanika Bruce, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Chedean Nation, Afy Fletcher, Shabika Gajnabi, Sheneta Grimmond, Chinelle Henry, Karishma Ramharack, Kaysia Schultz, Shakera Selman, Stafanie Taylor, Rashada Williams
WI Women Tri-Series Match Schedule (TT time)
January 21 vs South Africa 9am
January 23 vs India 1pm
January 25 vs South Africa 9am
January 30 vs India 9am
February 2: Tri-Series Final 9am