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CAPTION: West Indies captain Merissa Aguilleira picks up runs on the off side during the final on Sunday. Photo credit: WICB Media

From Bevan Springer

New York Amsterdam News

NEW YORK (February 21, 2013) – Over the weekend, I became a fan of women’s cricket.

Throughout my years of playing competitive cricket and following the fortunes of the West Indies cricket team, from the days of Clive Lloyd to Chris Gayle, I have never been interested in the female version of the game.

Mind you, the major sports media compounded my ignorance of the special athletic grace of women cricketers by giving them next to no air time. And, the corporate sponsors were slow to embrace our sisters.

However, after reading press reports that the West Indies team was in the final of the Women’s World Cup, I pulled out some pillows and a blanket and positioned myself comfortably on the sofa to watch our lasses take on five-time champions Australia in the ICC final in Mumbai.

While the Caribbean players – who shocked the world by making it into the finals – lost by 114 runs to the mighty Australians, my plans to get some serious sleep in between overs failed miserably; so intrigued was I that I discovered some amazing talent representing the Caribbean.

First there was the grace and leadership skills of the Windies wicketkeeper and captain, Trinidadian Merissa Aguilleira who commented after the match: “I would like to thank God for us being here, without Him we would not have got this far… congratulations to Australia who played the best cricket of the tournament, we can learn a lot from them. We had some mishaps in the field and were a bit off target with our bowling. It’s a great achievement, we want to thank our fans back home for supporting us.” A class act.

Then there was the 17 year-old Barbadian legspinner Shaquana Quintyne who helped the West Indies claw back into the game with a swell three wickets for 27 runs off her allotted 10 overs. A player to watch.

Anisa Mohammed from Trinidad and Tobago was a bright spark in the field, full of energy and bowled a delightful, yet expensive, spell of off-spin with intelligent deliveries that deceived some of the Aussie batters. Solid as a rock.

And who could forget the swashbuckling Barbadian batswoman Deandra Dottin who brought electricity to the game sending several balls beyond the boundary before she departed in a desperate attempt to dig her team out of a losing position. Fans will show up just to watch her play.

The technique displayed by openers Kycia Knight (Barbados) and Natasha McLean (Jamaica) would have delighted the legendary West Indian opening pair of Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge, and the spirit of the team in general no doubt thrilled West Indian fans at home and abroad.

President of the West Indies Cricket Board Dr. Julian Hunte hailed the performance of the West Indies women’s team: “The entire family of West Indies Cricket and the Caribbean region as a whole are immensely proud of the performance of the West Indies women. While they did not win the title, they advanced to the final by defeating more favored and acclaimed teams, including the eventual winners Australia,” Dr. Hunte said.

Our women made me “Proud to be West Indian” and I hereby pledge to follow more closely our Windies lasses when they take to the field in the near future.

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