Com Games Preview: Barbados

It’s Not West Indies Lite

Barbados might just be the most dangerous team at Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Nobody knows who they are. Let’s take off the mask.

You might look at the squad and write them off by saying, yes, it’s half the West Indies team but without key players like Stafanie Taylor, Anisa Mohammed or Shemaine Campbelle. They can’t compete. It’s a reasonable assumption on the surface, but let’s dig a little deeper.

The West Indies exists as an entity in nothing more than cricket. Each of the nations that make up West Indies cricket represent as individuals in other sports. Jamaica have a long list of successful sprinters in both Commonwealth and Olympic Games, for example.

While West Indies has a proud tradition with international cricket, it is after all a collection of nations. The players never compete for their nation, except at an event like this. The point of this is that their will be a different level of passion for these Barbadians and that alone should not be underestimated.

This team is used to working together as a unit. They arrive in this tournament as regional champions.

Squad:

Hayley Matthews (c), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shanika Bruce, Shai Carrington, Shaunte Carrington, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Keila Elliott, Trishan Holder, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Alisa Scantlebury, Shakera Selman, Tiffany Thorpe, Aaliyah Williams

Most cricket supporters would be familiar with the new ball pair of Shamilia Connell and Shakera Selman, the former in good form during the World Cup, but both are a well-travelled and experienced opening duo.

They’ll be backed up by Aaliyah Alleyne, also at the World Cup, along with Tiffany Thorpe and Shanika Bruce (both right-arm medium pace) The only real issue with the pace attack is that there is a bit of sameness about them all, aside from the extra pace delivered by Connell. Then of course there is the bowling wild card of Deandra Dottin: we’ve seen what can happen there.

Spins and Twins

Keila Elliott is a leg-break bowler and will likely share the spin duties with captain Hayley Matthews. Shaunte Carrinton also bowls off-breaks but it’s doubtful she will play a major role. Her twin sister Shai is a reserve wicket keeper but that role will be taken by Kycia Knight whose twin Kyshona will play as a middle order batter.

While on wicket keepers, nineteen year old Alisa Scantlebury is another who can fill the role and is also a middle order batter. Trishan Holder is another teenager, an allrounder but one suspects she is here for the experience. What an experience for the youngster on one of the biggest sporting stages in the world.

Batting Pyrotechnics

If in fact they do open, Hayley Matthews and Deandra Dottin are a dynamic duo who are a daunting prospect for any bowling line-up. Moreover, they have vast experience in these conditions and against all of the opposition attacks. It is a formidable and dangerous pairing. As a teenager Matthews batted West Indies to World Cup victory against Australia in 2016.

Kycia Knight has spent much of her career batting at number three for West Indies and is an elegant left hander who plays a more traditional style of batting. The same could be said of her twin Kyshona – good luck to the scorers if they bat together. Thank goodness for shirt numbers.

You have a top four there of world renown. It’s less known how the rest of the top six will shape up but often they aren’t needed in this format. I’d be looking at Shai Carrington and the allrounder Aaliyah Williams to fill the roles, but don’t be surprised to see Aaliyah Alleyne used as a pinch hitter if required.

Sit Back and Marvel at the Fielding

The final piece of the puzzle is the fielding. Kycia Knight has loads of international experience behind the stumps and is a comfortable fit here. The real joy will be at point in the figure of Deandra Dottin, one of the most exciting and brilliant fielders in the world. She often takes catches that defy belief and only a fool would run on this former javelin champion’s arm.

Another javelin champ is the skipper who is also a joy to watch, whether at first slip or in the field. The athleticism is often breathtaking.

This Barbados team won’t die wondering. They will be in each and every contest, giving their all. That they are not a traditional international team will give other teams pause for thought. They certainly should not be underestimated.

Can they make the semi-finals? For sure. If they can take down Pakistan in their first match they do have a job to beat either India or Australia, but beating one of them may be enough to see them through. I can tell you one thing: there will be a party on the field and also back home in Barbados and the entire Caribbean.

Fixtures:

Barbados is in Pool A with Australia, India and Pakistan:

2 thoughts on “Com Games Preview: Barbados

  • July 25, 2022 at 3:52 am
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    I’ll set my teams to support by 1-2-3 in each pool – that way I should be able to support a wider group of women then I would normally have followed.

    Thanks for highlighting this issue. I send your posts on through my networks too

    Reply

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