Barbados Cricket Association or Cricket West Indies – Who is responsible for Shaquana Quintyne?
After evaluating the performance-payment scenario of women’s cricket in Barbados, the women’s cricket committee, led by chairman Hartley Reid, decided to introduce an all-female team into the men’s second division competition in 2015. In the very first match of that tournament, a certain Shaquana Quintyne struck a brilliant unbeaten 159, astonishing one and all.
“She was special,” Reid told Women’s CricZone, speaking from his residence over a call about the then 19-year-old. “In fact, that day, people came from all over the district to see her batting.”
Quintyne was no ordinary player. In 2011, she made her debut for West Indies as a 15-year-old, becoming the youngest to play a T20I and the second-youngest to play an ODI for the Caribbean side. Within the next three years, the spin-bowling allrounder – she can bowl off-spin as well as leg-break – had a four-fer and a five-wicket haul to show for her efforts. Her exploits for Barbados, as well as West Indies, were phenomenal. She played in the 2013 Women’s World Cup as well as in the T20 World Cups in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
And then it all came to a screeching halt…
Ahead of the Women’s World Cup in 2017, West Indies were playing an intra-squad practice match in Antigua, where Quintyne, a centrally contracted player, was captaining one of the teams. While she was on the field, she felt a pain in her knee and called on Oba Gulston, physiotherapist of the national side at the time, who, upon inspection, concluded that Quintyne could continue playing.
After being on the field with the pain for 50 overs, her knee was swollen. She applied ice to it, as directed by the physio, and then went on to open the batting along with Hayley Matthews. Unfortunately for her, a deflection off Shakera Selman saw the ball hit the stump at the non-striker’s end while she was out of the crease.
“My team went on to win the match, but after the game I realised it was getting difficult for me to walk,” Quintyne told this website.
After the match, she was told to return to Barbados and consult the team doctor there. However, the team doctor wasn’t available and Quintyne’s knee pain became unbearable. She contacted Reid and an MRI scan was done, which then revealed a “full-blown PCL tear” to her right knee. After some delay till July 2017, what followed for the next 15 months were four operations – one each in Barbados and Jamaica (both in 2017) and two in Canada (2018).
Amidst all of this, Quintyne’s contract was terminated by West Indies.
“Cricket West Indies stopped their support in April 2018 and I took it upon myself to take care of my knee,” said Quintyne, almost teary-eyed.
“(The then selector) Courtney Browne called me and said, ‘Your contract has been terminated as we don’t know how long you’ll be off the field and we do not pay players who can’t play cricket’.”
Utterly dejected – at being left in the lurch – yet fiercely determined – to make her way back to the field – Quintyne went under the knife in April 2018 in Canada, which was more of a corrective surgery. After the final procedure in November 2018, came another jolt.
“At this stage she was told she won’t ever play the game because she had no more cartilage in the knee; the patella was damaged, everything went wrong,” said Reid, who served as chairman for Women’s Cricket at Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) from 2013 to 2018.
“She spent six months in Toronto for rehabilitation and then went to New York, where her grandparents live. There she sought other medical advice but she ran out of funds.”
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While CWI didn’t really offer their support to Quintyne, Reid said he constantly reported about her condition to BCA, but “they argued she was a contracted player to CWI and they didn’t want to interfere anywhere and compromise any coverage by CWI.”
“In all fairness, at some stage they did discuss offering her some sort of assistance. But never got on to it.”
“Nobody has accepted any responsibility for her even as we speak. And that’s where the problem is. Unless someone accepts responsibility first and foremost, then you go forward as to the possible treatment.”
Having said that, Reid was hopeful of her knee getting repaired, given the advancements in medicine.
“Medicine has improved to the extent that she can get some sort of repair to the knee,” he said.
“And she’s just 24! She exercises her upper body… Her upper body strength is remarkable but unfortunately, she cannot put any weight on her knee.”
“I would hate for the world to just miss out on her.”
While the West Indies’ Players’ Association refused to comment on the issue, saying it was a legal matter, correspondences to the both BCA and CWI were unresponsive.
“She didn’t want to have any attention drawn to her, neither did she want the impression to be conveyed that she was in any way attacking CWI,” said Reid of Quintyne.
“That’s why she never really interacts with the press. But it has been three years now and a lot of surgeries.”
With only bones in her right knee, Quintyne is in constant discomfort, but remains hopeful of some help coming her way.
“Every time I make a step, it’s just friction… bones are rubbing together, it’s just painful.”
“I remain hopeful that someone will reach out to me. Cricket West Indies need to demonstrate that they care about the welfare of their players.”
“I welcome anyone that’s willing to help me.”