Fri | Jan 21, 2022

Relief for WI Women

Players set to leave Oman tomorrow after lengthy quarantine

Published:Thursday | December 9, 2021 | 12:07 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
Members of the West Indies women’s team relax at the Oman International Airport on arrival from Zimbabwe.
Members of the West Indies women’s team relax at the Oman International Airport on arrival from Zimbabwe.
Courtney Walsh
Courtney Walsh
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FINALLY, there is relief for the West Indies Women’s cricket team, as they are scheduled to depart Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), tomorrow for the Caribbean.

It has been well over a week since the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Harare was called off following the outbreak of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, in southern Africa. Since that scenario unfolded, the West Indies Women’s team has been in Oman waiting to find out when they would return to the Caribbean.

The team includes Jamaica players Stafanie Taylor, the captain, Chedean Nation, Chinelle Henry and Rashada Williams. The head coach, West Indies coaching legend Courtney Walsh and his deputy, Robert Samuels, are also Jamaicans.

Travel restrictions, bans and flight cancellations have forced a conundrum for the ICC, which is responsible to get the team home. As a result, the contingent has had to spend the last week in quarantine in the Gulf state of Oman.

Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave confirmed to The Gleaner yesterday: “They are leaving on the 10th via London to come home, which is great news.”

When The Gleaner reached out to head coach Courtney Walsh, he said the girls are in good spirits, despite the quarantine and isolation.

“The accommodation at the Sheraton in Oman has been pretty good. The only downside is with the quarantine, where we can’t get to move about and we are pretty much stuck in our rooms.

“But we should complete the mandatory seven-day quarantine by Thursday (today) or Friday (tomorrow), so that should help,” said Walsh.

SAFETY MOST IMPORTANT

The West Indies Women played only one game in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers, beating Ireland Women by six wickets in their opening fixture. However, they were scheduled to face Sri Lanka in their second game, but that match was abandoned after a member of the Asian side’s support staff tested positive for the coronavirus. Whilst disappointed at that outcome, Walsh stated that the safety of the players and staff was most important.

“Of course, it was disheartening to have the tournament end early, but the safety of the teams and officials are paramount to anything else. We’ve all been in Oman and we are just looking forward to being back home in the Caribbean very soon with our families and enjoying the holiday season, before we pick up again in the new year ahead of the World Cup.”

West Indies Players’ Association President Wavell Hinds would no doubt be happy as just prior to the confirmation, he had expressed a hope for the players to be home by Christmas. He also wants them to get home safely.

“I would love for the girls to be back in the Caribbean for Christmas to be with their families,” said Hinds. “We are hoping that all travel arrangements go according to plan, and that they can arrive in the Caribbean safely.”

Full squad:

Stafanie Taylor (captain), Anisa Mohammed, Aaliyah Alleyne, Rashada Williams, Chedean Nation, Shemaine Campbelle, Chinelle Henry, Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews, Sheneta Grimond, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Qiana Joseph, Shamilia Connell, Shakera Selman.