The West Indies Women have begun their preparations for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 in England, arriving for for five days of training in Barbados last Friday.
The international showcase kicks off on 24 June with England against India. The West Indies play their first match on 26 June against Australia.
The Windies, who finished runner-up at the previous World Cup in India in 2013, last played international cricket in November.
The team lost to India in a One-Day International series but won the Twenty20 International series in Vijayawada.
It finished fourth on the ICC Women’s Championship table with 11 wins in 21 games and became the last team to earn an automatic berth for the World Cup.
Vasbert Drakes, former West Indies bowler and head coach of the woman’s team, said the focus of the camp would be to get the team to bond.
“We are eager to get the group together. It’s an exciting line-up of players with a balance of established players, a couple of returnees and a group of four new faces,” he said.
“This camp will enable the team management unit to spend valuable time with the players and start to build the desire for success in the team, as they get ready to face the challenges of the World Cup.”
There would also be physical assessment and player development sessions before the team leaves for England next Wednesday, the head coach added.
The West Indies has recalled Shanel Daley, and included four rookies in Reniece Boyce, Qiana Joseph, Akeira Peters and Felicia Walters.
Joseph, 16, is going to be the youngest player at the 11th edition of the World Cup.
‘Healthy team environment’
The West Indies won the Women’s World Twenty20 in India last year, but its record in England is not as impressive as it would have liked it to be.
The team has has won just three of the 11 ODIs played in England so far since 1979.
Drakes said: “It will be a good opportunity for us to recreate the strong team culture that was a hallmark of our side over the last two years as we worked very hard to qualify for the Women’s World Cup.”
“We want to help the new players integrate, while rekindling the camaraderie and relationships with the familiar faces, so that there is a healthy team environment in which everyone can focus on performance and ultimately being successful at the World Cup.”
After the first camp, the squad will train for 17 days in Southampton, and will play practice matches against an England Women’s XI on 6 June in Loughborough and the Southern Vipers on 9 June at Ageas Bowl.
They will then shift to Leicester to play the warm-up matches arranged by the International Cricket Council before travelling to Taunton their opening world cup match.
“We will have almost a month in the UK prior to our opening game in the World Cup to get the team into game mode,” said Drakes, who has been in charge since April 2015.
“We will spend that time trying to get acclimatised to the conditions and being purposeful in our build-up to the tournament, so that we can significantly improve on our past performances and prepare to take on the world.”