Two of the world’s best women cricketers were in Grand Cayman for the past week to help prepare the newly formed national side for their first international tournament which will be held here next month.
West Indies opener Stafanie Taylor is not just the best batter but also the top allrounder in the International Cricket Council’s rankings. She was voted the ICC Women’s 2011 Cricketer of the Year, yet she is only 20. West indies team-mate and fellow Jamaican Shanel Daley is the world No.8 and between them, they helped coach the Cayman squad, which will be captained by Molly-Ann Moore. Key players for Cayman include allrounder Carmel Harms and opener Pam Martin. The Windies duo were bowled over by the warmth and cooperation they received.
The Pepsi International Cricket Council Americas Women’s T20 Championship is at the Jimmy Powell Oval in West Bay and at George Town’s Smith Road Oval from 22-29 April. Visiting teams are the USA, Canada, Bermuda, Argentina and Brazil.
There was an exhibition match at the Smith Road Oval on Sunday with Taylor and Daley playing for a West Indies select side alongside the Cayman squad against a Cayman select team. Organised by Theo Cuffy and Merta Day, dignitaries in attendance included the Complaints Commissioner Nicola Williams, former champion bodybuider Angela Sealey, Miriam Foster of the Family Resource Centre and Director of Sports Collin Anglin.
Taylor smashed a ton effortlessly and when Daley joined her they really had fun. The pair had given the Cayman women a crash course in the finer points of the game but being such a difficult game to learn, they are trying to master the basics first. Some of the training included indoor instruction at the Triple C school last week.
A beaming Taylor said after her big knock: “First of all, I would like to talk about the crowd that was at the Smith Road Oval. It was a good crowd and I was pretty happy. The girls were pretty good. To be honest, I was trying to get out but it was impossible out there so I just continued batting. It was a good game.
“The batting here is coming on and I hope to see them in the nets. I taught them the basics of playing as a batsperson. Most of them didn’t know the basics so I started them off with that. They’re hitting without having a base. I taught them that and hopefully they will learn from there.
“The bowling is not too bad. It is obviously not up to my standard but for them playing against Argentina and Brazil I think Cayman can pull off something. The other sides, I think, are new entities. I’ve never seen or heard about them.”
West Indies women are scheduled to play Sri Lanka but that has yet to be confirmed. If it doesn’t happen then Taylor and Daley are happy to come back here not just to coach but also to enjoy the wonderful hospitality that the Cayman Islands is renowned for.
Taylor is testament to what hard work and discipline can achieve. She made her international debut at 17 and has been a stalwart ever since. “It’s all about training. I train really, really hard. When I started I had the aim of being No.1 and getting the International Cricket Council’s Cricketer of the Year and I’ve accomplished that.”
Taylor started playing cricket at eight at Eltham Park Primary School in St. Catherine. “It was introduced to me and I moved on from there. I was actually playing football and netball but I was drawn to cricket.
“Now I’m in the West Indies side I want us to improve. We’re working our way up the rankings.”
Daley said: “It was fun. I had a blast. Being in the middle with Staf is always good.” Daley is No.8 in the world rankings. She hopes to one day share the top two spot with Taylor and knows what she needs to do to get there.
“I need to bat longer like she does. Probably she could teach me lots of things. She’ll be giving me some coaching tips. I’m okay with my bowling. I’ve moved up the rankings on that. Now it’s just to get my batting right and I’ll be a compact all rounder.”
Daley, 23, was born in Kingston into a cricketing family as her father, Aaron Daley, played for Jamaica. “My brother also plays cricket so why not keep it there?”
She sees the West Indies women, currently fifth in the world, climbing up the rankings. “We can definitely do that. We have been playing more. A lot of cricket comes with experience and we have been playing a lot and now we’re able to understand different things, like reading conditions. Definitely, I think we’re a potential championship team and I’m looking forward to becoming one.”
The pair had such a fun time here, doing all the tourist stuff like visiting Stingray City – that they relish a quick return. “If Sri Lanka are not coming and we don’t have any assignments home, then we could be back soon.”