Eight teams qualified for the women’s T20 cricket tournament at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham but the Caribbean flavour had a twist.
Barbados got to represent the mighty West Indies even if they don’t play international cricket as an independent nation.
The West Indies is a region in North America that comprises several independent island countries. These include Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados among others.
The West Indies play international cricket as a composite team made up of players from six Caribbean cricket associations - Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Leeward Islands and the Windward Islands. The last two, in turn, represent multiple countries.
However, as per the Commonwealth Games Association Tournament rules agreed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), each country requires independent representation. The rules apply in the Olympics as well.
This is why sprint legend Usain Bolt represented Jamaica at the Summer Games and not the West Indies.
It’s also why the cricket at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur featured Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados as independent teams. West Indian great Curtly Ambrose played for Antigua at the 1998 CWG.
How did the Barbados women’s cricket team qualify for Commonwealth Games 2022?
The West Indies qualified for the Commonwealth Games 2022 on the basis of their T20 rankings in international cricket. This then left Cricket West Indies (CWI), the game’s governing body in the Caribbean, to decide which country would represent them in Birmingham.
Cricket West Indies (CWI) was to organise the 2021 T20 Blaze tournament as a qualifying competition for the Commonwealth Games but it was postponed due to “logistical challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic requiring multiple teams to be hosted in one country.”
The Barbados women’s cricket team thus made the cut for Birmingham 2022 as the defending CWI T20 Blaze champions. Barbados had won the 2018-19 edition of the women’s regional T20 tournament. The tournaments in 2020 and 2021 were cancelled due to the pandemic.
Hayley Matthews, Deandra Dottin, who recently announced her retirement from international cricket, the Knight twins - Kycia and Kyshona, Shamilia Connell and Shakera Selman are some of the Barbadian players who are regulars in the West Indies women’s cricket team.
Barbados squad at CWG 2022
Aaliyah Alleyne, Shanika Bruce, Shai Carrington, Shaunte Carrington, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Keila Elliott, Trishan Holder, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Alisa Scantlebury, Shakera Selman, Tiffany Thorpe, Aaliyah Williams.