After almost 15 years, Windies Women will tour to Pakistan for three-match T20I series which is scheduled to be started from January 31 in Karachi.
With the return of cricket in the country, it will surely boost Pakistan’s Cricket also. Windies Women were the last non-Asian team who travelled Pakistan in March-April, 2004. There they played a Test and seven-match ODI series. The test match went to draw while Windies Women the seven-match series by 5-2.
This time, they will play three-match ODI series after the completion of the T20I series. The three-match ODI series will be a part of the ICC Women’s Championship (2017-21) which will be played in Dubai on February 7, 9 and 11. West Indies are ranked fourth in the ICC T20I rankings while Pakistan are at seven. In ICC Women’s Championship, Windies Women and Pakistan have played equalled number of matches(9) and are at 5th and 6th place respectively.
“The three T20Is will be played on 31 January, 1 and 3 February at the Southend Club (Karachi), following which the two sides will go head to head in three ODIs in Dubai on 7, 9 and 11 February. The first ODI will be played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, while the second and third ODIs will be played at the ICC Academy,” a PCB media release said.
This ODI series is going to be the inauguration of the International Cricket to Pakistan, which was irregular after the terrorist attack had happened on the Sri Lankan team bus in March 2009. The last series which was played in the country was a three-match T20I series in 2018 against West Indies. In 2017, Sri Lanka played one T20I and a three-match T20I series against World XI side led by South African captain Faf du Plessis. Prior to that, Zimbabwe played three T20Is and three ODIs in Pakistan in May 2015.
Johnny Grave, the chief executive of Cricket West Indies said that the T20I series is going to be a ‘major step’ that helps the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) ‘bring cricket back home’.
“This tour is a further major step for our friends at the PCB to bring their cricket back home,” said Grave. “We are pleased that our players and support staff have recognised this and agreed to play the T20Is in Pakistan.”
“The security plan arranged by the PCB is of exactly the same level that the Windies men’s team had last year and independent security advisors, Eastern Star International (ESI), have confirmed to both the CWI and WIPA that they are satisfied that the risk is manageable and can be mitigated to an acceptable level,” Grave further added.
PCB Chief Operating Officer Subhan Ahmad showed his gratitude with the Windies Cricket Board for their cooperation.
“The visit of the West Indies women’s team to Karachi is great news not only for Pakistan cricket but for women’s cricket in general. We are thankful to Cricket West Indies and their players for trusting the PCB and agreeing to play three T20Is in Karachi.”
“The decision of Cricket West Indies endorses our position that Pakistan is as safe and secure as any other country. On behalf of the PCB, I would like to say that we are confident that this tour will go a long way in the complete revival of international cricket in Pakistan,” he said.
However, Windies Captain Stafanie Taylor has backed out of the tour for the security reasons. But she will play the ICC ODI Championship matches against Pakistan which will be played in Dubai. Along with her, Hayley Matthews too will be unavailable for the tour.
Johnny Grave, the CEO of Cricket West Indies also commented that the decision of playing the T20I series against Pakistan in Pakistan was left up to the players if they have any problem and the cricket board was willing to accept the reasons of the players in touring Pakistan.
“We made it very clear to the players and support staff that should any of them have any personal reservations about this Tour, that we fully understand and accept their position,” Grave said.
Matthews is currently recovering from a ligament injury to the knee that she got during the Women’s Big Bash League. Trinidad and Tobago’s uncapped offspinner Karishma Ramharack got her maiden call-up who has replaced Mathews. Along with her, 21-year-old opening batter from Jamaica, Rashada Williams too has received her maiden call-up.
Courtney Browne, the chairman of selectors is quite impressed with the selection.
“Coming into the squad for the first time is young opening batter Rashada Williams from Jamaica, who has impressed the selectors with her solid technique and her ability to play spin, along with off-spinner Karishma Ramharack, who has been rewarded for her consistency in regional cricket,” Browne said.
Meanwhile, Windies Women will attend an acclimatization camp on January 26 in Dubai prior to their arriving in Karachi a day before the first T20I. The T20Is are scheduled to be played at the Southend Club in Karachi on January 31, February 1 and February 3. Merissa Aguilleira, who had captained West Indies in 74 ODIS and 70 T20Is, will lead the team in the T20I series while Shakera Selman will be her deputy.
Stafanie Taylor (C, ODI), Merissa Aguilleira (C, T20I), Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Chinelle Henry, Kycia Knight, Natasha McClean, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Karishma Ramharack, Shakera Selman, Rashada Williams.