Walsh impressed by work ethic of Guyanese spinner Schultz
By Akeem Greene
Cricket West Indies (CWI) has expanded the number of West Indies Women’s players offered retainer contracts for the 2021-2022 season to a record 18.
This is an increase of three retainer contracts compared to the 2020-21 season and contracts were offered for the first time to developing young players Kaysia Schultz, and Qiana Joseph.
Shawnisha Hector is the third player in the expanded contracts list, but not a first-timer as she was contracted in years gone by, CWI noted.
Schultz is among five Guyanese offered contracts, the others being the experienced Shemaine Campbelle, Cherry-Ann Fraser, Shabika Gajnabi and Sheneta Grimmond.
According to CWI, there has been a lack of left-arm orthodox bowlers in the region, and therefore it is the hope Joseph and Schultz will help fill that void.
Speaking at a Virtual press conference on Friday, Women’s Head Coach, Courtney Walsh, indicated he saw great potential in the uncapped Schultz, hence her being awarded a development contract.
The 24-year-old participated in the West Indies camp for the first time back in July 2019.
“She has been very good in the camps, she has got the right attitude, she is doing everything that is required the coaches are looking for,” Walsh explained.
“There is potential there as well, so you want to try to get that going. And because we have a lack of cricket being played so far in the region, it is important we try to engage and keep these girls focused, and with the contract they know we are looking at them, and it encourages them to work a lot harder as well.”
Currently, 30 players are in Antigua for an estimated month-long West Indies Women’s high-performance camp, which started on May 2.
To fill the void of regional cricket since the pandemic, CWI has constantly held camps and the coach is happy with the enthusiasm shown by the players.
This is the second such month-long camp in 2021 assembled under the guidance of the Head Coach and his support team.
“I am happy with the energies that all the players are bringing, obviously with Campbell and her experience, but just the enthusiasm from all the players who have come into camp and the Guyanese are no exception. They have shown that they want to be here just like the rest of the other girls so we are trying to create a culture where everybody is within it together.”
Fuel for better performances
CWI’s Lead Selector for Women’s and Girls cricket, Ann Browne-John, hopes the ripple effect of more contracts for the women will translate to better performances and inspiration for more persons to join the pool in the Caribbean.
“It is really a pleasure for us to have the additional contracts. You would recognise the fact that we were not able to have a regional tournament last year and this year, so that would have given us an opportunity to see more players,” the selector stated.
“Having not seen them in a competitive arena, we thought it would be good for some other players, some young players to be put on contracts, who would recognise that Cricket West Indies is interested in them and they have seen the work they have done and what they can do.”
Browne-John felt the development contracts can also help the coaches and the technical staff to focus further on the young players to assess what they can produce and how they can grow.
With the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifiers now rescheduled for December, Walsh has devised a programme to maximise team preparation ahead of international cricket and the qualifiers later in the year.
Five teams have already qualified for the World, and West Indies are a part of 10 others seeking the final three slots.
At the 2017 World Cup, West Indies Women did not qualify for the semi-finals; they finished sixth, with two wins from seven matches. The Windies ladies are ranked sixth in both the 50-over and T20 formats.