BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – President of the West Indies Cricket Board Dr. Julian Hunte said consistency had now become synonymous with the West Indies Women’s team.

Windies celebrates a win during the ICC Women World Cup. Photo: (ICC/SOLARIS IMAGES)

The WICB president said that often sports personalities used the phrase “from strength to strength” and felt the Windies Women had come to epitomise this statement.

Dr. Hunte was speaking on Sunday night, when the regional governing body hosted the players and support staff of the team at a gala reception.

The members of the team were presented with special gifts from the WICB and Virgin Atlantic – an airline partner of the WICB.

“A few short years ago, the team languished in the bottom rungs of the international ranking,” said Dr. Hunte.

“After the completion of the process of fully integrating women’s cricket into the WICB, it was the conviction of the directors that the status of women’s cricket in the region must improve.”

He added: “Strategic measures were put in place to identify a core group of players who will form the bulwark of the team.

“A selection policy was determined, for the first time retainer contracts were implemented, increased numbers of tours and series were organised, special training and preparatory camps were held, a long-term head coach with support staff was engaged, millions of dollars were invested in our team.”

Dr. Hunte said the result of this investment in the players was World Ranking for the team at No.2 in Women’s One-day Internationals and No.4 in Women’s Twenty20 Internationals.

“I stand here proud that the WICB did its part – but all that I have mentioned would have come to nought had it not been for the commitment and unrelenting drive of the players themselves,” he said.

“We gather here to pay tribute and honor to these players – champion players. They may not have brought the Women’s World Cup trophy home with them, but I have no doubt whatsoever in future editions of World tournaments that they will return home with trophies aplenty.”

Dr. Hunte urged the players to continue working hard so that they could go one step further in the next ICC Women’s World Cup and win the title.

“We salute you and thank you for the dedication, as well as the contribution that you all have made to West Indies cricket,” he said.

“We hope that you all continue in this vein and I assure you that the WICB will continue to give you all the support that is needed including reviewing a number of areas that relate to emoluments in order to ensure that you can concentrate fully on the job of us remaining at the top of Women’s cricket.”

Merissa Aguilleira, the Windies Women’s captain, said her side welcomed the gesture by the WICB to celebrate their recent achievements.

“This has been a long journey for us and this has been the longest trip we have ever been on as a team, but it has been a successful trip,” she said.

“We have had a lot of challenges along the way, but we stood tall and did what we had to do to ensure success.”

She said: “It’s the never-say-die attitude that I really like about this team. They have worked really hard and I am really fortunate to be the captain of this team.

“We could not have achieved as much as we did without the management staff. It was difficult at times because we are a bunch of girls and we can get a bit moody, but they handled it well and I want to thank them for showing the emotional strength so that we could be successful.”

Windies Women lost the Final of the ICC WWC against Australia Women by 114 runs in India before heading to Sri Lanka, where they toppled the hosts 2-1 and 4-1 in ODI and T20I series respectively.