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A pleasure to lead West Indies Women, says Aguilleira
Published on March 31, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

SYLHET, Bangladesh (ICC) -- The West Indies Women beat Sri Lanka Women by eight wickets to qualify for the semifinals of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 on Friday night, and just as the men's team celebrated with the Gangnam style after a thrilling victory over Australia earlier in the day, the women followed suit and put on their dancing shoes.

"We have different tunes for different occasions," said Merissa Aguilleira, the captain. "Yes, it’s a Caribbean way. We enjoy what we do, this is the way we express ourselves and enjoy an occasion. Hopefully we'll leave our main celebration for the final."

With the day bringing double delight for West Indies fans, a lot of comparisons were drawn with the men’s team. The women's side has built an identity of its own, but there was also an admiration for Darren Sammy and his leadership skills.

"Sammy is a class guy," began Aguilleira. "People may think he may not contribute too much with bat or ball, but as a leader, he has contributed so much to West Indies cricket. No one used to give West Indies too much of a chance till he came in. Now other teams fear us, everyone takes so much interest in following West Indies cricket."

So what are the things she's picked up along the way?

"I've learnt so much from him," she said. “First and foremost, he has a style of his own, but more importantly he is such a humble man, plays with the passion and dedication to win. Hopefully he can continue to lead West Indies the way he has done so far."

West Indies has brought a bit of colour to the women's tournament, particularly with its style of play. But what has been striking is the way it has bounced back from setbacks. In March this year, it lost 4-0 in a Twenty20 International series against New Zealand, but the side that has turned up in Bangladesh looks to have overcome that disappointment quite effortlessly.

Agulleira, pointed to Sherwin Campbell's influence in bringing about a marked improvement within the team, both in terms of discipline and on-field performances.

"One of his biggest plus is he is an excellent communicator, he is very clear with what he expects from each individual," said Aguilleira of the former West Indies batsman, who has been the coach of the team since 2008. "Sometimes when we don't do what's asked of us, he’ll get upset, but that's how most coaches are, aren't they? But then, we respect him and his contribution to this team has been immense."

The win meant West Indies reached the semifinals of the Women’s World T20 for the third time in a row. Aguilleira has been at the helm on all three occasions, and while she didn't want to look too far ahead, the burning desire to win the title this time around was all too evident.

"As a side, we can’t rush into things as we are still a developing side," she said. "We have been around for a while, but the success we've enjoyed has been tremendous. It's a pleasure to lead this team because we came together from nowhere and have turned into a team that’s made people sit up and take notice. We will be looking forward to doing even better things.

"Our motto of 'Moving in Faith' is symbolic with every action of ours as a cricket team. We have been in the semifinals twice [before this tournament]. It's time for us to shed the bridesmaid status now, hopefully."
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