ST JOHN’S, Antigua, (CMC):
STAFANIE TAYLOR has been removed as West Indies Women’s captain and replaced by Hayley Matthews following a review of the squad’s leadership by selectors, with head coach Courtney Walsh citing the need for a change.
In a surprise announcement early yesterday, Cricket West Indies said the 24-year-old Matthews would take over from Taylor – seven years her senior – with immediate effect and lead the squad in their next series later this year.
“The selection panel felt that it was time to make the change,” Walsh said.
“We figured the timing was right with the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup coming up early next year. If we were thinking of making any changes, now would be the best time so that we give the new captain a couple of series under her belt before she enters into a World Cup.
“Hayley Matthews is young, she has longevity in the game, and she can lead the team for a longer time to get the experience, and we are here to support her.
“For us, it’s a win-win as we will have Stafanie concentrate on her best cricket and pass on guidance to Hayley as she grows in the role of taking the team forward.”
Taylor replaced Merissa Aguilleira in 2015 and subsequently oversaw West Indies’ capture of the Women’s T20 World Cup in India the following year.
However, West Indies have struggled to make an impression at recent world tournaments, despite reaching the semi-finals of the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand last March.
The right-handed Taylor, who also bowls off-spin, has remained one of her side’s stellar performers, averaging 44 in One-Day Internationals and nearly 36 in T20 Internationals, while taking 152 wickets in ODIs and 98 in T20s.
“The selection panel has done a review of the team, including the leadership. After this review, the panel took the decision to recommend that Hayley Matthews takes over the role as captain,” said lead selector Ann Browne-John.
“Hayley has made notable progress over the years, serving as vice-captain of the West Indies Women’s team, and is the current captain of her national team, Barbados.
“She has matured as a player and is one of the leading players worldwide with a good grasp of the game. Given the experience that she would have gained in both roles, we are confident this is the ideal time for her to step into the role of captain.”
Matthews is a stylish right-hander and off-spinner who made her debut as a 16-year-old in 2014, and was part of the championship-winning side two years later.
She is currently leading Barbados in the West Indies Women’s Championship in Guyana and will also lead the squad to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next month.
“I am both humbled and honoured to be given the opportunity to captain the West Indies Women’s team. It is definitely an exhilarating feeling and I welcome the experience to lead and learn with open arms,” Matthews said.
“This team has been very close to my heart from the beginning of my professional career eight years ago, and the influence of Stafanie’s leadership throughout those eight years has played a major role in the player I am today.
“I eagerly anticipate working with the players to continue building on the progress which the team has made thus far.”
She continued: “I would like to thank Stafanie for her astounding leadership of the team over the years. We’ve accomplished some of our biggest milestones with her at the forefront and I look forward to continuing playing alongside her.”
Matthews has scored 1,764 runs and taken 78 wickets from 69 ODIs, and 1 055 runs and 58 wickets in 61 T20Is.