Rain, unfortunately, proved a damper for Suzie Bates’s 100th One-Day International, against South Africa at the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 on Wednesday. Windies’ Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin would hope their landmark game, against India on Thursday at Taunton, doesn’t suffer the same fate.
The duo both made their debut just over nine years ago, on June 24, 2008 against Ireland in Dublin, just as women’s cricket in the West Indies was seeing a revival.
Taylor, a 17-year-old then, made 14 in her first game, before following that up with two half-centuries and picking up two wickets. Dottin, also 17, was unbeaten on 33 in her first attempt, the five fours she struck on the way an important marker of the kind of player she would be, much before that manic 38-ball Twenty20 International hundred put her in the record books.
Taylor goes into her 100th ODI as the top ranked all-rounder in 50-over and 20-over cricket. Reflecting on her journey, she said on Wednesday, “Actually it feels longer than that! I didn’t actually remember until my media manager said it to me this morning, that tomorrow is your 100th ODI game. I’m pleased to be here and to know that the 100 is actually in a World Cup. Hopefully we can come out victorious.”
An interest that began at the age of eight, and which became a passion even as she realised it would satisfy her desire to travel the world, has given Taylor much to cherish. “I would definitely say I’ve come a long way, I know I’ve matured. Looking back to the days when I was 17, now being 26, I would have learnt a lot, even crying last year in the World Cup (after a group stage defeat to England), so, I’ve changed over the years and with maturity I’ve become the woman I am today.”
Dottin too claimed to be unaware of the milestone. “I’m feeling good about the achievement, to be playing for West Indies, to be playing so many matches,” she said. “It all happened so fast and it all came so fast that I didn’t even realise till my last training session yesterday.”
From a “normal ordinary kid, playing cricket and just doing what I came up doing”, she was now at “a better place”, she said. “I can actually tell the tale, share my experience with upcoming players and how it’s been for me throughout the cricket [career].”
Neither one of them has shied away from taking on the responsibility of the team – and indeed the cause of women’s cricket in the West Indies. As the team goes through one of its trickiest patches, they will be required to step up once again. The match dynamics change the minute the two of them are in the middle. Adding to the narrative is the fact that the men’s side missed out on the recently concluded ICC Champions Trophy.
“I think we are the example, seeing that the men didn’t go to the Champions Trophy and we are here at the World Cup,” Taylor had said before the tournament. “I think everyone is looking forward for us to do well. I think its up to us to put all that behind us, work on the things we can control, go out there and play some cricket.”
More than it being a big day for them personally, they know Thursday’s is a crucial match for the team. “Tomorrow is a big game. India would have had confidence coming into tomorrow’s game. But the past is the past and tomorrow we’re just taking everything into our stride,” added Taylor.