Being compared to Chris Gayle lifts the level of expectation from you in the Caribbean.
But if there was any doubt about Deandra Dottin living up to that mantle for the West Indies, it was snuffed out with a brilliant century against Pakistan in an ICC Women’s World Cup match at Grace Road, Leicester, on Tuesday.
Playing in her third ICC Women’s World Cup, Dottin attained a long-standing desire of accumulating a three-figure innings in the format, finishing unbeaten on 104 in her side’s second victory of the tournament.
“Everybody said I hit the ball like Chris Gayle – so I continued to play on that name,” she explained.
“There is that confidence, you believe you can smack everything for six but at the same time you can’t do that. You have to pick your moments to hit the ball for six.
That attribute was at its trailblazing best in the 2010 ICC Women’s World T20 when Dottin smashed 100 from just 38 balls – a record that still stands. She had struck five fours and nine sixes in that knock against South Africa, which was the first century by a woman cricketer in T20Is.
“Being in the history books matters a lot to me, it’s a dream and I’ve been in sports for quite a long time. I was in athletics a couple of years back but it was cricket that took me professionally,” says Dottin, who has aggregated 2515 runs in 104 ODIs with 17 half-centuries and has also taken 50 scalps with her medium-pace bowling.
In T20Is, Dottin has scored 1805 runs in 91 ODIs with one century and nine fifties, while also grabbing 39 wickets.
In the ongoing World Cup, the 26-year-old had three single-digit scores and a top effort of 38 before the match against Pakistan, in which she played the waiting game early on as seven runs came from her first 16 balls.
But as captain Stafanie Taylor motored to 90 – West Indies’ first half-century of the tournament – the Dottin her country knows and loves came to the fore.
Moving to 50 from 49 balls was just the beginning as she bludgeoned 12 fours and three sixes in spite of the light Leicester drizzle.
The boundary was peppered with alarming regularity, 13 runs coming off the 48th over to take Dottin to 94.
And after Merissa Aguilleira whipped a single to bring her back on strike, Dottin wasted little time reaching the landmark – having got from 53 to a century off just 15 balls.
The 100 was to come with true Barbados flair, clearing long-on despite a fielder being positioned on the rope, then flinging the bat 20 yards away to show just how much it meant to her.
“It’s a big, big achievement, knowing that I’ve been working very hard on my game, and to actually cross the border. I feel very proud of myself and knew I could have done it,” she added.
“Even if I have a slow start I don’t mind because I can build up at the end. Stafanie being well-placed, I could play around her, rotate the strike and keep things ticking.
“I set very high standards for myself, when I know I can do better then I pull up myself, it’s not much of an anger game – even if it might look that way!
“It’s a big relief, I’ve been working hard and it’s been due for a long time knowing the player I am. I maybe should have done this before, but I’m thankful to staying strong at the crease.”