Hayley Matthews has asked for more number of domestic tournaments for women in West Indies to accelerate the development of the game.
“I think we need more regional cricket —over the past couple of years we haven’t had much,” said the 22-year-old.
“When we do have our regional cricket each year, it’s usually two, three weeks of a tournament. We try to squeeze a 50-over tournament and a T20 tournament within that [period] and obviously that’s not adequate enough for us to be growing as cricketers.”
The two tournaments that Matthews spoke about are the Super50 Cup and T20 Blaze, both of which run during the same period. Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Leeward Islands, Windward Islands and Guyana played five rounds each last year, with Guyana playing host.
Matthews starred in Barbados’ successful Super50 title defence, with the team being unbeaten throughout. This year, though, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Cricket West Indies to postpone that tournament as well as the inaugural under-19 tournament. The absence of playing time has meant there are limited opportunities for the players.
“It means there is no system for a lot of the younger girls to come through really if we’re not playing enough cricket against each other,” said Matthews, who had starred in West Indies’ maiden T20 World Cup win. “I think that’s probably one area I think we can improve in in order to see some growth within the region.”
Matthews has plied her trade in the overseas leagues like the Women’s Cricket Super League, the Women’s Big Bash League as well as the Women’s T20 Challenge in India. While she is aware of the superior facilities in those countries, she said it’s important for players in the Caribbean region to make do with what is available at their disposal.
“I think going to a place like Australia and England, a lot bigger countries [than the ones in the Caribbean], it’s kind of obvious that the facilities down there would be superior to ours,” said Matthews, who played her 50th T20I in the T20 World Cup 2020.
“At the same time, it’s just a case of putting in the work in the facilities that you have. Obviously, Australia is going to have hundreds of cricket ground in one state while we have four or five good ones in a country so at the same time it’s about managing the resources that you have around you and being able to work with them too.”