Difficult conditions will create better players: Drakes

SOUTHAMPTON, England, CMC – West Indies Women’s head coach, Vasbert Drakes, believes the challenging English conditions confronting his side will make for better players once they can learn from the experience.

The reigning Twenty20 champions are currently undergoing a training camp at the Ageas Bowl here in preparation for the ICC Women’s World Cup starting June 24, and have so far encountered a mix of sunshine, rain and chilly weather symptomatic of the the early England summer.

Drakes said not only would the unpredictable conditions create better players but better persons, as the experiences would bring critical qualities to the fore.

West Indies Women star Deandra Dottin adjusts her face mask during a training session at the Ageas Bowl. (Photo courtesy CWI Media)

“Day by day we are starting to understand that we are playing in different conditions and it will define you as a person because you are going to need a lot of character,” Drakes explained.

“You’re going to need a lot of determination and you’re going to need that strong will and character to prevail in these conditions. Hopefully as we progress in our training sessions, we [will] see a lot of improvement and learning taking place.”

West Indies Women have struggled in the two warm-up games to date – against a strong England XI last Wednesday and Southern Vipers on Friday.

In both contests, the Caribbean side was easily outplayed as they battled to come to grips with the different pitches, moving ball and the climatic conditions.

Drakes said he was not overly worried at this stage as the squad was still undergoing the acclimatisation process.

“In the last couple of days you get some sunny patches but also you get a lot of breeze at the ground and it has been challenging for them,” he pointed out.

“For a lot of them, this is the first opportunity to play in England and it’s just the process of that acclimatisation period. They are aware of the fact that if you’re going to play cricket up here, these are the things you have to be mentally aware of and obviously prepare for.”

West Indies have installed as one of the favourites for the upcoming tournament, especially after having won the T20 title last year in India and also having reached the final of the last 50-overs World Cup four years ago.

And even though the confidence in the squad remained high, Drakes said it was important they paid attention to the fundamentals in order to win matches.

“We’ve tried to manage [expectations] in the sense that we are playing cricket and we are looking to win,” he stressed.

“There’s no doubt about that but to win a cricket game we have to make sure we are ticking the necessary boxes and we’re going to take it step by step.

“There are some areas we are paying attention to and hopefully as coaches we will be able to pass on that information that would allow them to develop the skills that would allow them to cope in the competition in England and by extention, win cricket games.”

He added: “Like anything else, we are looking to do well. The intention is to win so we’ll see how it goes.”

West Indies face reigning champions Australia Women in their opening match on June 26.

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