Cap­tains thrilled with stand-alone women’s tour­na­ment

Stabroek News Sunday - - STABROEK SPORT -

ST JOHN’S, An­tigua, CMC – West Indies cap­tain, Stafanie Tay­lor, was one of sev­eral cap­tains yes­ter­day ex­press­ing their de­light with the Caribbean’s host­ing of the his­toric Women’s Twenty20 World Cup, which bowls off next Fri­day.

In the past, the tour­na­ment has been played along­side the men’s show­piece but for the first time this year, it will be staged in the re­gion as a stand­alone event from Novem­ber 9-24.

“I en­joy play­ing at home. The Caribbean is a great place for cricket and this will be an awe­some tour­na­ment,” Tay­lor told mem­bers of the me­dia at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.

“As I said be­fore, the cul­ture, the pas­sion, the his­tory and the peo­ple will make this one of the great event in Caribbean sport­ing his­tory.”

She con­tin­ued: “I think for any team, win­ning at home is a big deal. You al­ways want to win with the sup­port of your fans, your fam­i­lies, com­ing to see you. And I think for us it’s a great deal and to win – to re­gain the ti­tle here and not just that, but the first-ever stand-alone T20, that would be his­tory.

“We def­i­nitely would want to create his­tory again. Peo­ple here in the Caribbean are very pas­sion­ate about cricket and I do be­lieve that peo­ple will come out and sup­port.”Tay­lor is ranked among the top play­ers in the world in T20s and One­Day In­ter­na­tion­als and is also rated as the best West Indies player of all time, as the lead­ing run-maker in both for­mats.

South Africa cap­tain Dane van Niekirk said she was also ex­cited about the up­com­ing cam­paign, es­pe­cially com­ing on the heels of her side’s re­cent tour of the Caribbean.

She led the Proteas women in three ODIs and five T20s at Kens­ing­ton Oval in Bar­ba­dos and the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad last Septem­ber.

“The crowds here are amaz­ing. This is won­der­ful place for the game. We had some good times and played some great cricket in Bar­ba­dos and Trinidad a few weeks ago and now we’re back and happy to visit these other venues as well,” she said ahead of the warm-up matches in An­tigua.

“It’s due and it’s wellde­served. Women’s cricket de­serves the ‘alone’ time. The way the game has grown, it’s been so fast, you have to pinch your­self to see how quickly it’s grown. And the en­ter­tain­ment fac­tor is there now – big­ger hits, quicker bowlers, ath­letic play­ers. It’s a lot more ex­cit­ing.”

Jave­ria Khan, who has taken over as the Pak­istan cap­tain, said a stand-alone event would al­low the sport to fully thrive un­der an ex­clu­sive spot­light.

“It had to be done. Be­cause when there are men’s matches, then the fo­cus is kind of on the men’s matches,” the 30year-old ar­tic­u­lated.

“But now, as a women’s tour­na­ment, [ICC] will give it full sup­port, full pri­or­i­ties, full im­por­tance – like for the rules, the DRS sys­tem.”

She added: “They are do­ing some really good work. In the past, women’s cricket was not given much im­por­tance, not much pri­or­i­ties, and this is why girls were not opt­ing for cricket.

“So be­cause of ICC’s step [of hav­ing a stand­alone tour­na­ment] more girls will come for­ward. They have a fu­ture in women’s cricket.”

The pre­lim­i­nar­ies of the tour­na­ment will be played in Guyana and St Lu­cia, with the semi-fi­nals and fi­nal sched­uled for An­tigua.

West Indies cap­tain Stafanie Tay­lor smiles dur­ing a me­dia con­fer­ence at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.

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