We expect England to come hard at us: Stafanie Taylor
West Indies skipper Stafanie Taylor is expecting tough competition from the hosts England when both sides lock horns in the opening game of the five-match T20I series in Derby on Monday (September 21).
“Most of these players are from the World Cup squad. Not many changes which is expected,” Taylor told reporters in a virtual press conference on Saturday (September 19).
“I think they have a pretty good team. I expect them to come hard at us and they have a pretty balanced team,” she added. West Indies arrived in England at the start of the month and have been staying in the bio-bubble all through. Taylor said it feels like home and the players are in high spirits.
“We have been here for quite a while. It feels like home. The girls are in great spirits. We had a few weeks to get used to the condition. Everything is going well. One more day of practice, going to utilise that and get ready on Monday,” said the skipper.
The side have played two intra-squad matches recently with Taylor, Lee-Ann Kirby and Deandra Dottin all getting runs. While the skipper herself smashed an unbeaten 52-ball 71 in the first game, Kirby led her team to victory in the second with an unbeaten 85. Dottin too shined with the bat in the first game with a useful 41.
Asked if not all the players getting runs is a concern, Taylor had her own explanation. “It’s not a concern at all. We basically played against ourselves. If you split the team you have to balance it and when you look at the scorecard you will basically see that most of our batters are actually getting runs which is naturally good.”
“That’s what we need. We need batters to spend that time out in the middle, get yourself in even if you play against yourselves,” she said. However, she she admitted that they hadn’t yet settled on a final combination. “We haven’t discussed that yet,” she stated.
In the last press conference, Britney Cooper had spoken about plenty of opening options in the squad. Asked who is going to partner Hayley Matthews at the top, Taylor stated, “I am not sure if Hayley will open the batting.”
The veteran of 103 T20Is, Taylor also heaped praise on England counterpart Heather Knight for the support to the Black Lives Matter movement. “Heather and I had a good discussion about it and they are very much in support of it. It means a lot to us,” said the 29-year-old. “A lot has been happening around us. It was really nice of her (Heather) to say ‘hey we are very much in support of the Black Live Movement and we want to support you guys as the best as we can. So let me know what’s that you want us to do’. It brings a smile on all of ours’ faces.”
“We are a team of women, a team of diverse women and we know what it is to be judged based on the colour of our skin. As athletes with the spotlight on us, we know the importance of our roles and we are proud that we are able to keep the awareness of this campaign going.”
“Taking a knee for us means so much more than the physical gesture. By doing this as a team it will help to keep the focus alive and the conversations going to bring about the change, we strongly believe we need in society. As everyone now appreciates, sport is the single unifying factor regardless of nationality, race or religion. So, therefore, we as athletes and cricketers must use our platform to help bring about that dialogue and change,” she concluded.