Taylor welcomes return to action as Windies Women face England

CHAMPION all-rounder Stafanie Taylor says the return of international women’s cricket in the form of the Twenty20 (T20) series between England and West Indies is welcomed all around the world.

Since the World Cup final in March the international women’s game has been at a standstill due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

England Women and visitors West Indies are booked for five T20 matches without on-site spectators in a biosecure environment at Incora County Ground in Derby.

After the tour opener tomorrow, additional matches are scheduled for September 23, 26, 28 and 30.

West Indies Women, under the guidance of interim Head Coach Andre Coley, have been in England since August 31.

In July, the regional men’s team lost 1-2 to hosts England in a three-Test series under similar biosecure arrangements aimed at reducing the risk of exposure to the deadly virus.

“If you ask all the female cricketers they would say it [the series] means a lot. It’s really nice that the women are back up and running,” Taylor, the West Indies captain, said during a virtual press conference from the team’s base yesterday.

“We’ll be the first to play, and then I believe you’ll have Australia and New Zealand at some point. Slowly, female cricket is getting back and we’re really happy that it’s back up and running,” added the 29-year-old, considered one of the finest batters in the women’s game.

The series will be the first bilateral fixture for West Indies Women since they hosted India in the Caribbean last November.

The West Indies team’s last competitive action came at the 2020 T20 World Cup — the title was lifted by hosts Australia. Windies were eliminated at the group stage after losing to Pakistan and semi-finalists England. Their lone victory came against minnows Thailand, while their final preliminary match against eventual group winners South Africa was rained out.

“Most of the [England] players [selected for the series] are from the World Cup squad — not many changes to it, which is expected. They have a pretty good team, [and] I’m going to expect them to come hard at us. We’re in their back yard,” the Jamaican said when asked about the formidable England squad.

While 2009 T20 champions England hold home advantage, they will also be boosted by their superior position in the world rankings. They are number two behind Australia, comfortably ahead of sixth-ranked West Indies, who stunned many by claiming the 2016 world T20 title.

Taylor, who tallies 2984 runs in 103 T20 Internationals at an average of 36.39, said there is a chance of upsetting the English women on their turf.

“The girls are in great spirits; we’ve had a few weeks to get out there and get used to the conditions, so yeah, everything is going well.

“We need the batters to spend that time out in the middle. The pitches here have been really good; sometimes slow, two-paced. We just have to go out and play some good cricket,” the off-spinner, who has grabbed 89 wickets in the shortest format, said.

Squads: England — Heather Knight (captain), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Katie George, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Nat Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt.

West Indies — Stafanie Taylor (captain), Deandra Dottin, Shemaine Campbelle, Afy Fletcher, Hayley Matthews, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Chedean Nation, Natasha McLean, Chinelle Henry, Aaliyah Alleyne, Lee-Ann Kirby, Sheneta Grimmond, Karishma Ramharack, Shabika Gajnabi, Cherry-Ann Fraser, Kaysia Schultz.

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