If you were to understand the respect West Indies women’s side holds in the game or what it represents, there may be other ways to remember the current defending champions of the ICC Women’s World T20.
There may be non-laborious ways to dig up on the West Indies Women’s team instead of creating columns on a spreadsheet, comparing a Deandra Dottin with an Elyse Perry on the runs column. Or equating an Anisa Mohammed with Leigh Kasperek in the wickets department. Perhaps there could be a simpler instant instead of equating a Hayley Mathews to Alyssa Healy on the scale of big-hitting.
Perhaps, you’d want, instead, to try a simple exercise. How about a picture quiz?
There’s a high possibility of finding Stafanie Taylor’s face in the mind when you’d quiz yourself on the phrase “West Indies Women’s” the same way most fans would find Chris Gayle when asking themselves about the term “Universe Boss.”
The math is simple and the equation, loud and clear.
Stafanie Taylor is West Indies Women’s cricket.
For her lordly elegance on the field and the destructive abilities with the bat, the Jamaican has gained respect for a nation that, in her absence, might seem rather unimaginable today.
For starters, the West Indies Women’s have handy, or seasonal talents. There’s the guile of spinner Anisha Mohammed. Merissa Aguilleira has composure and experience. Deandra Dottin hammers the ball as if savagery is her real skill.
But there’s one central figure that brings them together to reflect the isolated Caribbean Islands as a force in unison, serving a dual-purpose: to prosper together and to prosper under the national identity for the West Indies.
That is Stafanie Taylor.
For starters, her figures in the modern game, no stranger to greats like Meg Lanning, Mithali Raj, Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine, Harmanpreet Kaur, Sana Mir- glow in individual delight.
She ensures that the contemporary narrative of the women’s game also includes the West Indies, a team that will be hoping to make good for a recent disastrous tour to New Zealand.
Nearly 7000 international runs, including over 4000 ODI runs make Taylor- familiar white ball smasher- a revered name of the limited overs format.
An early introduction to the sport playing around with boys, Stafanie took to the sport like a fish to waters. First wielding the bat at the tender age of 10, enabled the dogged Windies women’s captain to seek the pleasures of the sport as also to forge early strengths. Backyard cricket is often the first learning school for many a cricketer.
Perhaps there was life also beyond sticking to the dolls.
West Indies Women’s team glows in admiration for a woman who is an arbiter of sorts, the one who brings people together in a nation naturally stymied by geographic divisions.
The gnawing at bowlers, the striking of familiar hooks and pulls exhibiting the familiar Caribbean flair in adjusting the feet quickly serve up a juicy rum-punch of excitement that can so often wither away during intense situations.
The calm pep talks to bowlers and the warm embrace of her girls, upholding the dignity of the contest through grins and smiles- the world seems an enjoyable space on Stafanie Taylor’s watch.
In taking a leaf from the sphere of aviation, perhaps it could be construed, that in Stafanie Taylor’s case, all flights to and fro her West Indies leave from Jamaica.
It is the central runway from which talented flights like Mathews, Aguilleira, Dottin take to the skies.
Just like all of them did in the World T20 victorious campaign. Just who would’ve given a chance to the West Indies at the start with familiar forces- India and Australia-seemingly desperate to maul them under their force. But implicit in the awe-inspiring scene of Dottin and Britanny Cooper- the metamorphosis of the West Indies’ middle order- striking winning runs, was a plank of great consistency that Stafanie Taylor fetched for her side.
In any T20, a cameo can be a rewarding achievement, particularly, when resulting in a win.
For Stafanie Taylor, there were the constant spurts of 40s, one each against Pakistan and Bangladesh, that contributed to early wins. She’d later show a full expanse of her stroke-play, holding contests against England and India by the scruff of the neck and turning them into momentous occasions, even as the 1-run heartbreaking loss to England may not evoke fond memories.
And truth be told, it wasn’t that Stafanie Taylor was the Bodhisattva of emotional control. Any dropped chance or failing to swat a bad ball aside, would draw emotion.
There’d be tense nerves.
But at no chance at all would her personal emotion reflect poor on the side.
There would be no boildowns. Just hope. And hope backed up with performances, giving a team that was before the tournament- a plane-dressed Jane, a makeover of confidence, a reflection of agility.
As the West Indies endeavour to submit a fresh title bid to a tournament where they’ve excelled through sheer team-spirit, it would be time again for Stafanie to step up. Of course, in her world, it would mean to stand together with her girls.
Happy 27th to the prodigal talent from Jamaica.