Daley eagerly eyeing Indian challenge

MUMBAI, India – All-rounder Shanel Daley will be hoping to use the momentum from her excellent series against South Africa to spearhead West Indies’ charge in the ICC Women’s World Cup which bowls off Thursday.

The 24-year-old Jamaican was named Player-of-the-Series in the two-match Twenty20 encounter in St Lucia last week, an outing that she expects will augur well in the 50-over format.

“I had a good series against South Africa and that has given me a new kind of confidence with the World Cup starting in a few days. I have a big role to play for West Indies as an experienced player,” Daley said.

“Things have been going well for us in the team. We beat India and Sri Lanka at home last year and also did well in Sri Lanka at the World T20 last October. We bounced back brilliantly to level the (One-Day International) series against South Africa and then we outplayed them in the T20s.”

Daley, the daughter of former Jamaica first class all-rounder Aaron Daley, made her debut for West Indies five years ago and has gone on to play 41 One-Day Internationals and 45 Twenty20s.

She has become a crucial member of the Windies line up with her solid middle order batting that has earned her 687 runs at an average of 22.9 in ODIs, and left-arm spin that has yielded 51 wickets at 18 runs apiece.

Daley said the improvements in her game had come largely through increased fitness, an issue that plagued her at the start of her career.

“My game for the past four years that I have been representing West Indies has improved a lot. When I started my fitness was really poor … I was not up to the standard to play at the international level and to perform on a consistent basis,” Daley admitted.

“The coach spoke to me and I had a chat with the trainer Shannon Lashley and she gave me a programme which I follow on a daily basis.

“It has helped immensely, you need to be very fit especially when you’re out there batting as well as when you’re in the field for long periods. It all comes down to fitness – the fittest of the fittest will survive.”

Daley has undergone quite a transformation in her short career. Starting as a left-arm seamer, she switched to left-arm spin on a recommendation from head coach Sherwin Campbell, and the move has borne fruit.

She is now ranked in the top 10 bowlers in both ODIs and T20s.

A versatile all-round player who has batted up and down the order and bowled at just about every stage of the innings, Daley said she was relishing the challenge of playing on Indian pitches.

“I like the challenge of performing both roles in the team. It’s not really pressure on me, it’s more rewarding the faith the coaches and my team-mates have placed in me,” she explained.

“I enjoy bowling at the top and bowling to the best batters in world cricket. I enjoy batting in India and I did well with the bat the last time we played here. I will look to do well again.

“I always look to bat for long periods and build an innings. With the ball, I look to build pressure on the batters and force a mistake.”

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 17:47