Head coach Walsh, support staff have put us in good space: Stafanie Taylor

West Indies women’s team captain Stafanie Taylor has said that having pace bowling legend Courtney Walsh as head coach had put her team in a “good space” for the upcoming ICC Women’s World Cup, to be played across six venues in New Zealand from March 4 onwards.

West Indies Women will open their campaign against the hosts on the opening day.

“The West Indies are heading into the Women’s Cricket World Cup in a good space, the like of which I have not seen for a long time. Walsh took over as head coach in 2020 and the impact that he and his team have made has been huge. They (coaching staff) have been able to teach us things that we were just completely unaware of previously,” Taylor, a veteran of 137 WODIs who has scored more than 5,000 runs in the 50-over format, said in her column for ICC on Saturday.

The 30-year-old Caribbean cricketer said that had Walsh and the support staff been hired a few years earlier, it would have made the West Indies women’s team a lot stronger.

“I have worked a lot with our batting coach Robert Samuels on trying to avoid slipping in bad habits. I never used to be one to watch videos very much, but now I try to film net sessions to make sure I’m avoiding those old habits. Robert has been working hard on building up our middle order, and I hope that we will be able to show that our depth has improved during the tournament in New Zealand. The aim is to be stronger in that area, and that then relieves the pressure on individual players when they get to the middle,” opined Taylor.

She said that players like Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews, who were there during the 2017 World Cup as well, will be an asset to the side when West Indies begin their campaign in New Zealand.

“We still have a few players from the 2017 World Cup, and players like Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews are in good form. But there are also a lot of youngsters who we have been able to integrate into the side. For those playing their first World Cup, my advice to them is to enjoy themselves. There will be nerves, there is no way around that, but they just need to enjoy the opportunity.”

On her recovery from the concussion she suffered during the series against South Africa, Taylor indicated that she still had tell-tale signs of the injury.

“It has not been the easiest build-up for me because I was hit on the head during the series against South Africa. It was the first time I had been hit on the head by a cricket ball, or at all, and I am still recovering from the concussion. Apparently, I was speaking a lot of nonsense after it happened, and light affected my eyes initially, so I spent a lot of time with glasses on. Hopefully, I can be ready for the opening warm-up game down in Christchurch.”

Taylor said that her team will rely on fast bowler Shamilia Connell and the likes to deliver some knockout punches during their campaign, adding that pace bowlers could be very useful in seaming New Zealand conditions.

“Our fast bowling depth is looking good with Shamilia Connell in good form, and that could be very useful in the conditions over here.”

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