By the time you read this the West Indies women would have already lost the finals of the ICC ODI World Cup against the all-conquering Australians. Overall the team performed poorly in the finals. Poor fielding resulted in the West Indies women letting Australia off the hook and saw them making 259 for 7 off their allotment of overs. Poor batting ensured that the West Indies never posed a serious threat to the world champions.
On closer observation, you come to realize that the women display similar flaws in batting technique to their male counterparts. There seems to be almost an innate tendency to play across the line which often results in players getting bowled or getting out leg before wicket or occasionally getting leading edges that end up in a catcher’s hands.
In the case of the women though, and especially against the Australians, one of the main reasons the team continues to come up short is Stafanie Taylor’s inability to dominate Australia’s bowling attack.
The 21-year-old all-rounder has an incredible record. In 61 matches Taylor has amassed 2419 runs at an excellent average of 45.64. She has four centuries and 16 half centuries. However, none of these scores have come against the Australians. Her highest score against the Australians is 32 runs and her average against them is a paltry 14.00. In the finals she scored five and never looked comfortable against the bowling of Ellyse Perry, who eventually dismissed her. Taylor’s record against England is even worse – 13.50 runs per innings even though she has a best score of 43 runs against them.
In contrast Taylor averages 39.66 against India, 86.33 against Ireland, 108 against the Netherlands, 43 against New Zealand, 45 against Pakistan, 50.30 against South Africa, and 50.72 against Sri Lanka. Taylor is regarded as among the best female players in the world but if those rankings are to really mean anything, she has to over time find a way to lead her team to be more competitive against the top teams in the world. It will not be enough to just beat up on the weaker teams, she has to deliver the goods against the to teams as well, and when it matters most.
However, to lay the blame solely at Taylor’s feet would be unjust. Taylor and Deandra Dottin have done more than their fair share in rescuing their team from precarious situations. It is time some of the other players brought their respective ‘A’ games to crucial matches. Too often it comes down to the same players and that should not be the case.
Cricket is a team game, and while each team has leaders, there are times when the other players will have to prop their leaders up. Unfortunately, we don’t see that often enough from the Windies women.