Cooper, Henry back for Windies title defence
ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC):
Stroke-maker Britney Cooper has been recalled for West Indies' defence of their ICC Twenty20 Women's World Cup title in a 15-member squad announced yesterday.
The experienced right-hander has been joined by 23-year-old batsman Chinelle Henry, who has returned following three years in the wilderness. Uncapped off-spinner Sheneta Grimmond keeps her place in the squad after being called up for the just-concluded five-match series against South Africa.
Selectors have dropped left-arm pacer Qiana Joseph and uncapped slow medium Karishma Ramharack, both of whom were included for the South Africa series but did not feature.
As expected, the squad retains the core of the championship side from 2016, with former captain Merissa Aguilleira, Deandra Dottin, and Hayley Matthews headlining the unit, which will be led again by Stafanie Taylor.
Cooper, a key member of that World Cup-winning side, has been selected, no doubt, for her experience, which has seen her play 54 T20 Internationals since her debut nine years ago.
She endured a nightmare tour of New Zealand earlier this year with just 33 runs in five outings and was subsequently left out against South Africa.
But as she proved with a half-century against New Zealand in the semi-finals of the 2016 championship, she possesses the temperament in big matches, and this could prove vital in the November 9-24 tournament scheduled for Guyana, St Lucia, and Antigua.
Henry, meanwhile, played the last of her seven T20Is back in 2015 and boasts an unflattering record of just 29 runs from those matches.
West Indies will do battle in Group A alongside powerful England, South Africa, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka while Group B comprises 2016 losing finalists Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, and minnows Ireland.
The hosts will raise the curtain on the tournament with a clash against Bangladesh, and Taylor said that defending the title on home soil would be a special occasion for her side.
"It will obviously be a great feeling to lead the team at home, but one has to also live up to the expectations of being defending champions," said the veteran batsman.
SQUAD: Stafanie Taylor (captain), Afy Fletcher, Anisa Mohammed, Britney Cooper, Chedean Nation, Chinelle Henry, Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews, Kycia Knight, Merissa Aguilleira, Natasha McLean, Shakera Selman, Shamilia Connell, Shemaine Campbelle, Sheneta Grimmond.