Matthews shakes off injury concern as focus turns to WBBL

West Indies star looks ahead to WBBL and reflects on the mismatch that was evident in the ODI series against Australia

Hayley Matthews is confident she will be able to navigate a full WBBL|09 season for Melbourne Renegades despite suffering a grade one tear to her right quadricep during the T20I portion of West Indies’ tour of Australia.

As Australia wrapped up an emphatic eight-wicket win in the final ODI and a 2-0 series victory on Saturday, attention swiftly started turning to the Big Bash, with Matthews to soon link up with her Renegades teammates.

The 25-year-old missed the first ODI due to the injury, but returned for the final two matches, scoring 23 in Saturday’s finale and bowling one over.

If available, Matthews’ off-spin will be an important weapon for the Renegades, whose captain Sophie Molineux was ruled out for the season on Thursday.

"I've been in a pain-free zone completely since that third T20 so I know what the scan shows, but at the same time I've been feeling really comfortable in the nets and out on the field whilst training," Matthews said.

"I'll definitely be doing all the work around it to hopefully get myself in the best position (for the Renegades).

"I hadn't bowled a ball since I hurt my quad so that was kind of a tester for me to see how it felt and I bowled that first over, I was able to put a lot of energy into it and once again (I was) pain free."

While Matthews is poised to play a significant role for the Renegades this season, she is the only West Indian contracted to a club in WBBL|09.

Of the Windies team that travelled to Australia, Stafanie Taylor is the only other one to have ever played in the Big Bash, and Australia’s vastly more developed and professional domestic system is a significant factor in the mismatch between the two sides on this tour.

Australia v West Indies | Third ODI

Matthews played a lone hand with the bat across both limited-overs formats on the tour of Australia, scoring 353 runs in five innings.

The next highest output from a Windies batter was Aaliyah Alleyne’s 98 in four knocks, and Stafanie Taylor’s 80 in six.

The allrounder has been producing match-winning knocks for her country since she debuted aged 16 in 2014 – including her heroics against Australia that landed the Windies their first T20 World Cup title in 2016.

But she believes the rapid evolution of the women’s game in the years since, and the professionalisation of other country’s domestic programs, now only make it tougher for West Indies’ young players when they arrive on the international stage. 

"I think I was a bit more fortunate," Matthews said.

"Women's cricket right now is not what women's cricket was I think eight or nine years ago.

"I was pretty fortunate to come into cricket in a time where it was still growing and get the opportunity to play around the world and franchise cricket and kind of grow with the game.

"Whereas I think they've now stepped into women's cricket in a place where it's very difficult and probably the skill of the game is a lot higher as well."

'More of our batters need to chip in': Matthews

Seven members of the West Indies squad will now travel to Pakistan with coach Shane Deitz ahead of an ‘A’ series against Pakistan A, which Matthews said would be an ideal chance for them to develop.

"I think it's going to be a great level of cricket for them to go and play and not only learn but hopefully get some confidence from the games as well," she said.

"It'll be a real test for them and a real tell for them to see where they're at personally.

"Obviously Australia is quite tough competition, but over in Pakistan getting the opportunity to play the 'A' team stuff, the girls should be coming up against other ladies that hopefully they can go on there and perform well against."

CommBank ODIs v West Indies 2023

First ODI: Australia won by eight wickets

Second ODI: Match abandoned

Third ODI: Australia won by eight wickets

Australia squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham

West Indies squad: Hayley Matthews (c), Shemaine Campbelle (vc), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shamilia Connell, Afy Fletcher, Cherry Ann Fraser, Shabika Gajnabi, Jannillea Glasgow, Chinelle Henry, Zaida James, Djenaba Joseph, Ashmini Munisar, Karishma Ramharack, Stafanie Taylor, Rashada Williams