West Indies women’s head coach Courtney Walsh has admitted that there is not much time for his side to prepare for the upcoming 2021 Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier competition set for Sri Lanka between June 26th and July 10th.
The legendary West Indies fast-bowler was speaking on Tuesday on the third day of a camp he is hosting in Antigua which includes 24 cricketers from around the region. He said, “We haven’t got a lot of time on our hands. The qualifiers are in June/July and people might say we have a lot of time but in reality, we probably don’t have as much time as we anticipated or expected. What I would like from this camp is to put things in place. Hopefully we get the regionals played and try to get a tour before the qualifiers, so we have some cricket.”
Walsh did not try to butter over the almighty drop the West Indies women have endured since winning the Women’s World T20 five years ago. They are now ranked sixth in both formats of the game. He says so far, he has seen a lack of confidence and self-belief in the team. “A lot of work is going to be required to get us back to where we can be. In terms of ability and talent we have it, but our work ethic must step up, our fitness level must step up. We must look all round. Our entire approach to the game has to be changed because right around everyone has leapt above us so we now have to play catch up,” the Jamaican said.
The present camp, he says, aims to assess where the level of fitness is at for some of these West Indies women’s cricketers who were given a programme to work through last November. It’s one of the aspects of West Indies cricket, Walsh says, the regional side has not kept up with the rest of the world. He went further in explaining, “The other teams have gone past us because they have improved and worked on their all-round game and mental fitness, the whole nine yards. We are now putting those sorts of things in place because the girls did a programme in November in terms of fitness because we are trying to ensure that everybody is up to par.”
Last week, Cricket West Indies (CWI) Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams told Guardian Media Sports that he expects the Women’s Regional Super50 tournament to take place in March, following which a camp will be held. CWI is hopeful of a tour to India in June though Walsh said he will settle for any tour on the sub-continent to get acclimatized before the start of the World Cup qualifiers. The West Indies women are also expected to feature in the 2021 edition of the Caribbean Premier League after missing out last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic while the Regional Women’s T20 Blaze is expected later down in the year.
Having served as Bangladesh’s bowling coach between 2016 and 2019, Walsh said he still finds time to watch the West Indies men play but admits they’ll face a tough task in the series. He said, “Bangladesh in Bangladesh will never be easy as the records have shown. I’ve sent a message out to the team wishing them well. It’s going to be challenging but as I said to them, I believe we can do very well on this tour. We have some youngsters who have been given the opportunity and hopefully they can grab it with both hands.”
For now, he’s focused on the camp in Antigua which lasts for three weeks.