ST JOHN’S, Antigua, (CMC) – West Indies captain, Stafanie Taylor, was one of several captains on Saturday expressing their delight with the Caribbean’s hosting of the historic Women’s Twenty20 World Cup, which bowls off next Friday.
In the past, the tournament has been played alongside the men’s showpiece but for the first time this year, it will be staged in the region as a stand-alone event from November 9-24.
“I enjoy playing at home. The Caribbean is a great place for cricket and this will be an awesome tournament,” Taylor told members of the media at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.
“As I said before, the culture, the passion, the history and the people will make this one of the great event in Caribbean sporting history.”
She continued: “I think for any team, winning at home is a big deal. You always want to win with the support of your fans, your families, coming to see you. And I think for us it’s a great deal and to win – to regain the title here and not just that, but the first-ever stand-alone T20, that would be history.
“We definitely would want to create history again. People here in the Caribbean are very passionate about cricket and I do believe that people will come out and support.”
Taylor is ranked among the top players in the world in T20s and One-Day Internationals and is also rated as the best West Indies player of all time, as the leading run-maker in both formats.
South Africa captain Dane van Niekirk said she was also excited about the upcoming campaign, especially coming on the heels of her side’s recent tour of the Caribbean.
She led the Proteas women in three ODIs and five T20s at Kensington Oval in Barbados and the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad last September.
“The crowds here are amazing. This is wonderful place for the game. We had some good times and played some great cricket in Barbados and Trinidad a few weeks ago and now we’re back and happy to visit these other venues as well,” she said ahead of the warm-up matches in Antigua.
“It’s due and it’s well-deserved. Women’s cricket deserves the ‘alone’ time. The way the game has grown, it’s been so fast, you have to pinch yourself to see how quickly it’s grown. And the entertainment factor is there now – bigger hits, quicker bowlers, athletic players. It’s a lot more exciting.”
Javeria Khan, who has taken over as the Pakistan captain, said a stand-alone event would allow the sport to fully thrive under an exclusive spotlight.
“It had to be done. Because when there are men’s matches, then the focus is kind of on the men’s matches,” the 30-year-old articulated.
“But now, as a women’s tournament, [ICC] will give it full support, full priorities, full importance – like for the rules, the DRS system.”
She added: “They are doing some really good work. In the past, women’s cricket was not given much importance, not much priorities, and this is why girls were not opting for cricket.
“So because of ICC’s step [of having a stand-alone tournament] more girls will come forward. They have a future in women’s cricket.”
The preliminaries of the tournament will be played in Guyana and St Lucia, with the semi-finals and final scheduled for Antigua.