Cooper confident batters will rise to occasion

WEST Indies Women batters will come good on the Twenty20 (T20) cricket tour of England, according to Trinidadian player Britney Cooper.

The five-match series, featuring behind-closed-doors contests at Derbyshire’s Incora County Ground to reduce the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus, is scheduled to begin tomorrow. The other matches are slated for September 23, 26, 28 and 30.

England, rated second in the world behind five-time world T20 champions Australia, begin as favourites against West Indies, who are ranked sixth.

“It [the batting] is a concern, but we have had a lot of practice, and it has shown that the girls are assessing the conditions and getting their form in order, and I know all of us are going to peak at the right time,” the 31-year-old middle-order batter said recently during a media interaction from the team’s base in Derby.

The Caribbean women, the 2016 T20 World Cup winners, have often times struggled for runs, particularly when outstanding batter Stafanie Taylor, the team captain, fails to make a significant contribution.

When the teams last met — in March during the group stage of the 2020 World Cup — England comfortably won by 46 runs after dismissing West Indies for 97.

In that match, Lee-Ann Kirby hit 20, with Taylor making 15 before retiring hurt and Cooper adding 15.

England went on to the semi-finals, while West Indies failed to progress from the group stage.

“We have to be a lot more consistent. That’s something we have fallen short on these past few years. We need to build a lot more partnerships and continue to apply pressure whenever we get the chance to put England under pressure,” Cooper emphasised.

West Indies have been in England since August 31.

The series, taking place in a biosecure environment because of the pandemic, is the first for international women’s cricket since March.

Cooper, who has played 67 T20 matches since making her international debut in 2009, suggested the situation has leveled the playing field.

“We want to win the series, but my personal goal is to score at least two half centuries if I get the opportunity to play all five games,” she told journalists.

“The mood is very good. All the girls are very excited to go out there to play cricket. A lot of us [have] been coping really [well]. Living in the bubble for the past two weeks we’ve got accustomed to the protocols and all of that.

“It doesn’t feel like we are the away team because we’ve already spent two weeks in this bubble. England are coming into our ‘home’ to play us right now,” the West Indies cricketer added.

— Sanjay Myers

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