Performances 2016-2021- T20 and ODI
Since winning the 2016 International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup, the West Indies women have completed 39 matches inclusive of the of the 2018 and 2020 World Cups. They have won 19 matches and lost 20. They have registered wins against all countries save New Zealand and Australia who won comprehensively 4-0 and 3-0 respectively in 2017 and 2019.
India (3rd) and South Africa (5th) have both surpassed the WI (6th) in the ICC ranking since 2016. India after losing 3-0 in 2016, defeated the WI 5-0 in 2019 in the Caribbean. South Africa have drawn two series in the Caribbean 2-2 in 2018 and 1-1 in 2021.
In ODIs, the WI have completed 30 games since the 2017 ICC World Cup. They have won 10 and lost 20. Seven (7) of the wins have come against teams- Pakistan and Sri Lanka- ranked lower than the WI. The other three wins were against South Africa (2) and India (1).
Against the top ranked teams - Australia (1st), England (2nd) and New Zealand (4th)- they have lost all nine games played. Against India (5th) they lost 2-1 in 2019 and 4-1 against South Africa (3rd). As result of the poor performances since the 2017 World Cup, the WI will be vying for one of three (3) spots in the ICC qualification tournament in Zimbabwe November 21 - December 5 to participate in the ICC ODI (One Day International) World Cup in New Zealand in 2022. The other nine countries are: Bangladesh, Ireland, Netherlands, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United States and Zimbabwe.
Only three players- Stafanie Taylor, Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews - have consistently played in franchise T20 in Australia, England and India/UAE (United Arab Emirates). India and South Africa who up until 2016 were ranked below the WI, have seen an increasing number of players in franchise tournaments in England and Australia. India has eight players in the 2021 WBBL (Women's Big Bash League). This can only augur well for their development.
Widen gap and needed intervention
It is evident from the summary data above (holding the impact of COVID-19 constant) that the system for women’s cricket in the region is not working as it should. Live television coverage of international cricket from across the world suggest that unless there is purposeful intervention on the part of Cricket West Indies (CWI) there will be continuing widening gap between the top five countries and the WI on one hand and on the other, non-traditional countries who are investing in their women’s programmes such as Ireland, Zimbabwe, Netherlands and USA will be closing on the WI.
A structured approach has to be taken. Winning the T20 WC in 2016 should have been the catalyst for the development of the women’s game in the region starting with grassroot development, age group programmes at Under-15 and U-19 and A-team/Emerging Development. These programmes should have been geared toward providing a pool of well trained and prepared cricketers for the WI U-19 and senior WI team. There was no need to reinvent the wheel as the model used for males should have been used for the females.
The administrators at CWI and the respective territorial boards are responsible for the development of the women’s game in the region. Are they concerned about the fall from the top? If they are, there is no public articulation that takes place for the men’s team. It is not about competition between men and women, there should be equal concerns and interest.
And albeit, men dominate cricket administration in the region, it is the same in the other territories such as Australia, New Zealand, India, England and South Africa, but they are both talking and walking the talk toward both development and raising the overall standard of women’s cricket. So, gender should not be an inhibiting factor as well as financial resources.
Australia’s captain, Meg Lanning summarises the importance of a structured approach which has resulted in Australia’s consistent dominance of women’s cricket “the success and prominence of women’s cricket in Australia has not happened by accident. Cricket has shown that when you properly invest in female sport, the results and everyone and everyone benefits- the game, the fans and the players.”