Fearless and always on the money – Vintage Deandra Dottin is back in business  

Deandra Dottin in action. ©ICC

Bring on one of the best bowling attacks in the world, she fears no one. Deandra Dottin would smack everything if it’s in her zone. On Monday (September 21), the ‘World Boss’ played like a boss smashing a 59-ball 69 against England to give fans some thrill as competitive cricket returned to the fore after almost six months.

It wasn’t the start that West Indies wanted, losing the encounter by 47 runs, but it could be a rebirth for the explosive allrounder, who has missed nine months of her career due to a shoulder injury last year. One of the game’s most defining figures, Dottin suffered a serious injury to her right shoulder in early 2019 and underwent reconstructive surgery in June the same year.

“It’s a long time for me out of international cricket, but we have been preparing hard for the last two weeks here. It was just a matter of execution but unfortunately, the result didn’t go our way,” said Dottin in the post-match virtual press conference. The last time Dottin played a similar kind of innings was in 2019 when she hit a 60-ball 90 not out against Pakistan.

She was included in the West Indies’ T20 World Cup squad in Australia directly after the injury lay-off – a move that had raised quite a few eyebrows – presumably considering the big-tournament experience that she brings on the table but Dottin couldn’t do much registering scores of 2, 1 and 9. She wasn’t ready at all.

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The coronavirus lockdown came as a blessing in disguise for Dottin. Like most of the cricketers around the globe, the Barbadian, too, thought no cricket would happen this year, but she kept herself motivated by thinking about playing this year.

The West Indies vice-captain continued training, started playing cricket with cousins – the boys – just to stay active and did all sorts of things that kept her inspired all the time. Her hard work and determination paid off on Monday. Chasing a target of 164, Dottin started on a cautious note, after losing her opening partner, Hayley Matthews, for a 10-ball three in the third over.

Captain Stafanie Taylor, too, perished soon. With the required run-rate climbing up, it was time for Dottin to take the mantle. The right-hander was particularly harsh on Anya Shrubsole hitting five boundaries and a six – straight down the ground over the bowler’s head with plenty of elevation.

Deandra Dottin hits one through the off-side against England. © Cricket West Indies/Twitter

Deandra Dottin hits one through the off-side against England. © Cricket West Indies/Twitter

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Her slog-sweep for a six in the 15th over was an absolute beauty. Getting down on one knee, Dottin middled a Sarah Glenn delivery and whacked the ball clearing long-on boundary for a good 88 metres – one of the commentators yelled, ‘that’s probably the biggest hit I have seen in recent times’!

“The game plan for me was to bat through the innings. We needed a couple of big overs but England used their variations very well and we didn’t get to the score that projected on the screen,” said Dottin, who holds the record for the fastest 100 in a women’s T20I, reaching three figures in just 38 balls against South Africa in 2010 T20 World Cup.

“The knock for me was pretty good, unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to win the game for the team. I want to say they were better prepared than us,” she added. Dottin also soaked in a lot of dot balls – 21 at the time of her half-century – and admitted that, had those been converted into singles, things could have been different.

“I think the lack of strike rotations and lack of partnerships cost us. Those dot balls could have been turned into ones,” added the veteran of 114 T20Is. She was finally dismissed in the penultimate over of the innings off a Sophie Ecclestone arm delivery as West Indies eventually finished at 116 for six.

With the second match on Wednesday (September 23), West Indies need to do a lot of homework. While Dottin would like to continue the momentum, her teammates would definitely need to find a way to stay at the crease for long periods and create partnerships if they want to stay afloat in the series.

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