Of the many things the world recognizes about Deandra Dottin for, it can be said it was her continuity about doing things that truly defined her. Each time she’d come out to bat, there was always this feeling that the bowling economy rates were going to soar, the bowlers’ run-conceded column would begin to look terrible and the cricket ball would, more often than not, meet the fence.
Batting, such an art form, became, at her expense, a brutal skill on display.
It was exemplary. It was fiery. It epitomised the West Indies. Back in the days, if one wanted to understand the meaning of flair, you couldn’t go to anyone than Brain Lara.
But if you wanted to witness carnage out in the middle and the batter, quite simply, admonishing the presence of bowlers, you had to find Deandra Dottin.
In an exciting, long, durable career, one in which she became a key lynchpin of West Indies women’s cricket, Deandra Dottin became the nightmare that haunted bowlers and gave the chills that, “Oh, I have to bowl at her the next day.”
The fear was real; there’s no pretence about it.
But the bludgeoning of the bowlers was not the only constant about Deandra Dottin’s batting; there was the element of surprise in there too.
You didn’t know what was to happen next irrespective of whether you were Maitlan Brown, Megan Schutt, Jhulan Gosawami, Marizanne Kapp, Amelia Kerr, Dane van Niekerk, Asmavia Iqbal or Sophie Devine.
She’d pull the shorter one from not just the backfoot; she could pull marginally shorter deliveries off the frontfoot, putting them towards front of square in a rather Ponting-esque manner.
When five consecutive dot deliveries would have been bowled, then Deandra Dottin would, out of nowhere, find a way to punch one through the off region to score a boundary. To most bowlers, a last-ball-four in an over that hitherto yielded only dot deliveries, was no pleasing sight.
And very often, she’d just remain there; sometimes holding the pose after showing the white ball to the fence with absolute disdain.
She didn’t hit her shots; she thumped them.
And yet, even thirteen years after making her international debut, Dottin retained something about her batting that was part of it from the word go.
It is called shock and awe!
And, quite frankly, this very trait accompanied Deandra Dottin even as she quit a career that was already legendary, timeless even!
It was the element of surprise that never left eschewed the right-hander, one also responsible for 134 wickets.
Akin to how we could never predict which bowler might Dottin target (for she could punish any), one simply couldn’t have predicted that she’d suddenly call it quits.
For it never seemed that such a thing would- or could- since she’s all of 31.
Now that such this has actually happened, you just get the feeling that again, the bowler didn’t do her thing; Dottin hit wicket herself.
Deandra came to the sport- and as one can see without much doubt- left it at her own terms.
On top of that, she made it amply clear; she’s sad but there’s no iota of regret.
That is how things should be.. well again, in an ideal world. And speaking of an ideal world, Dottin’s has clearly pointed- not alluded to the fact- that the team environment was’t conducive for her and overall atmosphere in the side left her exhausted.
It didn’t motivate her to persist with excellence, a quality she always demonstrated and was after.
As a true athlete who was also bothered about such things over and above stats, such a reason may seem needless to many. But in reality, it is Dottin who faced the unwanted much and one reckons, when she couldn’t bare it, she left.
Sad part is, not that she’d agree, is that Deandra Dottin could’ve gone a long way.
Her collective tally of 6424 runs should ideally have been 10,000 for of all batters, she was among the few that could really have touched the benchmark. Her 5 international centuries, two of which came exclusively and only in T20 internationals should have, at least, been 10.
Sadly enough, when Dottin called time on her career, which lest it is forgotten, was her own call, she stopped just sixteen wickets from 150 international returns.
Another 31 white-ball games would’ve given her 300 international caps for her West Indies, a team that’s seldom had an easy time managing players. It’s a team that has so often (as seen in the past) had to endure the sad reality of seeing nationals going overseas.
That is why, today we have an idea as ridiculous and perhaps perfunctory as a T10 becoming popular and carrying weight for those who participate in it are many notable talents (internationals).
Players who do flock towards yet another T20 or T10 league do so with the prior knowledge that many are just a cliche; yet another attempt by their franchise owners to attract big names to the game for cricket when in truth, the idea is to simply offer entertainment, pure sporting element not so much.
That Deandra Dottin’s name too is going to be added to this irrepressible cult is evidence of the tide changing.
Which is why someone like Cricket Australia is having to spend bombs in ensuring that David Warner doesn’t go elsewhere for T20’s and plays his nation’s BBL, not the IPL.
But despite it all- the highs of scoring a 112 off just 45 deliveries, the lull as seen in the recent CWG campaign- something must be asked of those running the West Indies.
How long can their cricket- as a culture, practice, art form, whatever- afford to lose have a world class name like Deandra Dottin? Why isn’t someone who holds the power and perhaps even the intention to save Windies cricket from more disasters such as the one we saw in Dottin’s case stepping in just yet?
Lastly, what are they going to do to ensure that such a needless act does not strike the West Indies team- men or women- soon again?