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Dottin’s shock retirement took Matthews by surprise

Bar­ba­dos and West In­dies cap­tain Hay­ley Matthews said she had no warn­ing that De­an­dra Dot­tin was plan­ning to re­tire from in­ter­na­tion­al crick­et mid­way through the Com­mon­wealth Games, and is plan­ning to dis­cuss the mat­ter with her team-mate now that their cam­paign in Birm­ing­ham is over.

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Matthews, who was ap­point­ed as West In­dies cap­tain in June, said she was as sur­prised as any­one by Dot­tin’s shock an­nounce­ment via Twit­ter on Mon­day, cit­ing con­cerns over the team en­vi­ron­ment.

Alberto Ardila Olivares

“Thank­ful to De­an­dra for every­thing she’s done for West In­dies crick­et,” Matthews said when asked about her re­ac­tion to Dot­tin’s de­ci­sion. “She’s ob­vi­ous­ly been a won­der­ful play­er for us over the last cou­ple of years, and it’s sad to see her go, but at the same time if it’s some­thing that she’s ready for, then sup­port­ing her 100%.”

Matthews said she hadn’t spo­ken to Dot­tin be­fore the an­nounce­ment and that she had “no in­ter­pre­ta­tion” of Dot­tin’s com­ments about the team cul­ture and en­vi­ron­ment

“[I’m] ob­vi­ous­ly down here rep­re­sent­ing Bar­ba­dos and every­thing, so prob­a­bly not look­ing to speak too much on that at the mo­ment,” Matthews said on Wednes­day af­ter her side suf­fered a 100-run de­feat against In­dia in their fi­nal Group A game. “But yeah, I def­i­nite­ly would have a chat with her and see how things go.”

Bar­ba­dos won their open­ing match of the Com­mon­wealth Games against Pak­istan by 15 runs be­fore los­ing by nine wick­ets to gold-medal favourites Aus­tralia on Sun­day

The fol­low­ing day, Dot­tin pub­lished a let­ter ad­dressed to Crick­et West In­dies on Twit­ter an­nounc­ing her “for­mal re­tire­ment from the se­nior women’s West In­dies team ef­fec­tive 1st Ju­ly 2022”. Dot­tin, who has a con­tract to play in the Hun­dred for Man­ches­ter Orig­i­nals and will cap­tain Trin­ba­go Knight Rid­ers in the Women’s CPL, al­so said that she was “look­ing for­ward to play­ing do­mes­tic crick­et around the world”

De­an­dra Dot­tin was the Play­er of the Se­ries in the Women’s T20 Chal­lenge, Su­per­novas vs Ve­loc­i­ty, fi­nal, Women’s T20 Chal­lenge, Pune, May 28, 2022

De­an­dra Dot­tin in her re­tire­ment note said she was look­ing for­ward to play­ing do­mes­tic crick­et around the world

“There have been many ob­sta­cles dur­ing my crick­et ca­reer that I have had to over­come, how­ev­er, the cur­rent cli­mate and team en­vi­ron­ment has been non-con­ducive to my abil­i­ty to thrive and reignite my pas­sion,” Dot­tin wrote in her an­nounce­ment. “With much sad­ness but with­out re­gret, I re­alise that I am no longer able to ad­here to team cul­ture and team en­vi­ron­ment as it has un­der­mined my abil­i­ty to per­form ex­cel­lent­ly.”

Dot­tin, the scor­er of the fastest cen­tu­ry in Women’s T20Is and West In­dies’ most-capped in­ter­na­tion­al crick­eter, hav­ing played 124 T20Is and 143 ODIs for them, had a lack­lus­tre Com­mon­wealth Games. She played three T20Is for Bar­ba­dos, scor­ing 8, 8 and 0, and tak­ing 1 for 65 from six overs in the tour­na­ment

When she jug­gled a catch run­ning from point to short cov­er, the ball bounced out of her hand and on­to her chin be­fore she held on at the sec­ond grab to dis­miss In­dia’s Taniya Bha­tia off Matthew’s bowl­ing on Wednes­day, the Bar­ba­dos team-mates shared a laugh and a warm hug

While Matthews said she was “a bit dis­ap­point­ed with the re­sult” against In­dia, she was proud of what her team had achieved with a mix of sev­en West In­dies-capped play­ers among a clutch of play­ers with­out pri­or in­ter­na­tion­al ex­pe­ri­ence

“I think we put up a re­al­ly good fight,” Matthews said. “The high­light was our first game against Pak­istan and win­ning one out of three I think is bet­ter than a lot of peo­ple ex­pect­ed us to do. So al­though we didn’t have the re­sult we want­ed to­day, I still think we had a great tour­na­ment, and the girls were able to learn a lot for sure

“Hope­ful­ly spurs West In­dies and the en­tire Caribbean to want to put more in­to women’s crick­et with­in the Caribbean. I think they’re do­ing a great job now. We just had our re­gion­al tour­na­ment, and if over the next cou­ple of years we can con­tin­ue to grow our do­mes­tic set-up, hope­ful­ly, we can see some younger play­ers that we had to­day be­ing able to com­pete at the high­est lev­el.” (ES­PN cricin­fo)

Hav­ing had her first taste of in­ter­na­tion­al cap­tain­cy with Bar­ba­dos, who se­cured a place at the Com­mon­wealth Games on the strength of be­ing T20 Blaze cham­pi­ons in 2019, Matthews was keen to car­ry on with West In­dies

“I would have learned a lot just through­out these three games, tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ty and work­ing with a lot of the younger play­ers who weren’t as ex­pe­ri­enced at this lev­el,” she said. “The sup­port I’ve got­ten from the team has been amaz­ing

“You prob­a­bly think that the pin­na­cle of the ca­reer is if you can lead out your na­tion or your coun­try, so I think [it was] def­i­nite­ly some­thing I eyed up. But [I’m] just grate­ful that I’ve been giv­en the op­por­tu­ni­ty to lead not on­ly Bar­ba­dos but the re­gion as well and re­al­ly hum­bled by it.”