FORMER West Indies off-spinner Anisa Mohammed said she is "available" and willing to serve West Indies or TT cricket, after announcing her retirement from the international women's game on Thursday.
Mohammed, 35, along with Shakera Selman and twin sisters Kycia and Kyshona Knight all retired from West Indies duty last week. Cricket West Indies (CWI) paid homage to the quartet who all formed part of West Indies' championship team at the 2016 International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty/20 women's World Cup.
Mohammed began her career as a 14-year-old, playing her first One-day international (ODI) against Japan in a World Cup qualifier in Amstelveen, Holland in 2003. Her T20I debut came five years later against Ireland, and the off-spinner became the first international cricketer to get to 100 T20I wickets when West Indies took on Pakistan during the triumphant T20 World Cup campaign in 2016. To this day, her 100-wicket feat, along with the Windies' World Cup win, remain the favourite moments in her career.
Mohammed took 305 wickets across the ODI and T20I formats for West Indies, with her last international game coming against Australia at the semi-final stage of the 2022 50-over World Cup.
Mohammed said it was time for younger players to seize the opportunities she once had.
"When I look at the bunch of players we have now, I think it is time for me to step away and give the other players a chance to go out there and live their dream like I have lived mine," Mohammed told Newsday.
"I took a six-month break (from September 2022), then I came back. My retirement was something I thought long and hard about."
After an international career that spanned two decades, included several World Cups and saw the wily spinner claiming nine five-wicket hauls, Mohammed is ready to serve in another capacity.
"I am available for whatever position CWI or TT would like me to help out with," Mohammed said.
"I think I am experienced enough to help these young players get to the level they need to be at. Whenever they are ready for me, I will be available."
Mohammed's cricket inspiration came from a supportive and cricket-crazed family who ensured she stayed humble throughout her career. Playing in the streets or in the savannah with her cousin and twin sister Alisa, who also played for TT, soon turned to playing on the international stage for the women in maroon.
"I never thought any of this would have happened – in terms of breaking records and playing so many games – none of this was ever on my mind," Mohammed said.
"I was just happy for the opportunity to go out there and represent my country. Setting and breaking records never crossed my mind until halfway through my career when I started looking at stats."
Mohammed's career-best figures of seven for 14 came against her "favourite" opponents Pakistan in an ODI in 2011. However, on March 16, 2016, she was on top of the world when she met the same opposition in Chennai, India in their group stage match at the T20 World Cup. Mohammed grabbed figures of three for 25 as West Indies eked out a narrow four-run win after scoring just 103 – taking the TT spinner to 100 T20I wickets before any other player.
Mohammed was over the moon.
"I was bowling to a left-hander (Bismah Maroof) against Pakistan and Merissa Aguilleira took the stumping. I started running around the field and celebrating and everyone was asking 'why is she celebrating?' because we had not won the match yet.
"It was only when I went back to the pavilion, I found out (the record) was for both male and female (players). It was a really special feeling."
Mohammed ended her career on 125 T20I wickets, placing her third on the all-time list in women's T20Is.
Mohammed said senior players such as Shane de Silva and former Windies skipper Stephanie Power were instrumental in keeping her grounded and guiding her through the initial stages of her career.
Mohammed pointed to the young talent in the region, mentioning players such as Zaida James, Djeneba Joseph, Shunelle Sawh and 16-year-old spinner Samara Ramnath, who reminds the veteran of a young, eager Anisa Mohammed. While the game has advanced in many aspects, Mohammed said more can be done to nurture the upcoming talents in the region.
"I think (the younger players) are not exposed to what we had when we started playing. By we, I mean most of the retired players like myself, Deandra (Dottin), Shakera Selman, the Knight (sisters). We were exposed to the men's clinics.
"We were exposed to a different level of cricket and we had more opportunities in terms of getting some cricket in and getting some coaching."
She said there have been a "couple of coaching clinics" for women within the last year or so, and she hopes the momentum will continue.
And though Mohammed has retired from the international scene, she is not stepping away from the game entirely. Mohammed expressed a desire to continue playing with the Trinbago Knight Riders franchise in the women's Caribbean Premier League (WCPL) once she is retained.