Deandra Dottin hitting one of her signature shots during the ICC Women's World T20 2014 in Bangladesh © Getty Images
Deandra Dottin hitting one of her signature shots during the ICC Women’s World T20 2014 in Bangladesh © Getty Images

A major architect behind West Indies‘ triumph in ICC Women’s World T20 2016, Deandra Jalisa Shakira Dottin, was born June 21, 1991 in Barbados. A successful shot putter and discus and javelin thrower at young age, Dottin went on to become one of the most successful all-rounders produced by the team that has given cricket some of the most spectacular all-time greats. Paulami Chakraborty tries to look at a woman with a powerful pair of hands and a more than handy bowler and her journey from an athlete to one of the superstars in women’s cricket of modern era. READ:ICC Women’s World Cup 2013: Deandra Dottin saves West Indies blushes against Australia

2005. A 14-year-old Deandra Dottin was brimming with joy as she was awarded the silver medal in the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CFTA) Under-17 women’s javelin throw. Placed No. 6 in shot put, the next year she claimed silver in the section and a gold in javelin. A promising athlete who won gold in both sports in Central American and Caribbean Junior U-17 Championships 2006 and a gold in discus in 2007, turned out to be one of the most accomplished cricketers. If one wonders why, it was primarily in the family.

Born in a family that has already produced a cricketer, it was easy for Dottin to find the passion of her life in the game of cricket. Her cousin Ottis Gibson was an international pacer who went on to coach West Indies for some time. However, Dottin’s inspiration to become a cricketer has been the one to most of the West Indies cricketers — Viv Richards.

In an interview with The Times of India, Dottin revealed about how the great inspired her at a very young age: ”When I was very young, I had a chance to see his video clippings. More than the runs he scored, the way he would walk to the crease and take the attack to the opposition — was just truly inspirational. He took charge from the word go, and that was the game for me.”

Dottin’s talent came into notice during the West Indies Women’s Cricket Federation Under-19 Championship 2006 in which she represented the Barbados Under-19s Women. One of the most significant matches the team played on their way to the final was against St Lucia Under-19s Women. Dottin shared dressing-room with sisters Kycia and Kyshona Knight, who later became her national teammates. Kycia (118) and Danielle Small provided a strong start, and Dottin took things further with 70. The match, which was reduced to 40 overs a side, went in favour of the girls from Barbados: they scored 343 and reduced St Lucia to a mere 32.

Dottin’s potential as a player reflected from her first international match, against Ireland Women. Ireland batted first and Nicola Coffey’s 32 took the side to a total of 123. Dottin conceded 11 from her 2 overs. West Indies Women looked helpless as they came out to bat, being reduced to 19 for 3. Dottin, however, remained unbeaten on a 41-ball 33. By the time rain stopped play, Dottin had taken West Indies Women past the par score by Duckworth-Lewis Method.

Dottin’s maiden half-centuries in Women’s ODIs and Women’s T20Is came against Australia Women (in other words, the Southern Stars), and in losing cause. It took her 15 ODIs and 5 T20Is to score her first half-century in the respective formats.

What makes Dottin different from most of her contemporaries is her ability to make any batting position her own and play comfortably. That has come handy for the West Indies Women’s squad on multiple occasions. Though she started as a hard-hitting middle-order batter, she has been been used as a floater between positions Nos. 3 and 5.

Despite her 16 ODI fifties, Dottin is yet to scale the three-figure mark. The closest she came was during ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifiers 2011, against Pakistan Women. Stafanie Taylor and Juliana Nero provided the perfect start to the innings, adding 45. Shanel Daley then fell for 20, but Nero stayed on, building a partnership with Dottin; Nero eventually fell for a gritty 63. It was, however, Dottin’s day. With 5 fours and 7 sixes, she went on to score 95 runs off 83 balls and was unlucky to miss an ODI century. The innings is considered as one of her best in the 50-overs format. Though she has no centuries in the format, the one record that she can brag about is that of most sixes. With 59 sixes from 85 innings, she is ahead of the number two Sophie Devine by 33 sixes.

Despite her ODI achievements, Dottin’s claim to fame lies in T20Is. Within two years of her debut in the format, she pulled something still untouched by anyone across genders, in the inaugural match of ICC Women’s World T20 2010, against South Africa Women. Coming out at a hopeless 12 for 2, Dottin counterattacked fearlessly, smashing the first century in the history of women’s cricket. She beat Chris Gayle, who held the record of the fastest T20I 100 (off 50 balls), reaching the milestone off just 38 balls. The second fifty took her a mere 13 balls.

Quite naturally, she is the most-capped West Indies Women’s team player in T20Is. At the time of writing this article, she ranks fourth in the world, after Charlotte Edwards, Jenny Gunn and Alex Blackwell. She is also the second-highest run-getter in Women’s T20I for West Indies with 1,753 runs.

But batting is not the only way Dottin contributes towards the team’s win. Women’s World T20 2016, just like any other West Indies Women’s cricketer, has been quite fruitful for Dottin. She emerged as the highest wicket-taker of the tournament alongside Leigh Kasperek and Sophie Devine. Accomplished much at a young age, she has a long and fruitful way to go and become one of the greatest players of the game.

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)