Bridgetown, Barbados – Kyshona Knight was on top of the world when she was called up among the region’s best 18 players for the West Indies Women’s camp. She said it was “special” as she joined her twin sister Kycia in the squad.
The Knight sisters, aged 20, are the first twins to be named in a West Indies squad, and they are hoping to make the final cut for the visit by the South Africa Women in January and the International Cricket Council Women’s World Cup in India in February.
The two are identical in many ways – in looks with the same cheerful, welcoming smiles; they are both left-handed batters; they are both pursuing tertiary level studies in Physical Education; and both have ambitions of being school teachers. However, there is one slight difference – Kyshona, at five-feet-seven-inches, is slightly taller.
Two other players in the squad also have twin sisters – off-spinner Anisa Mohammed, whose twin sister Alisa plays for Trinidad & Tobago in the regional championships and 16-year-old leg-spinner Shaquana Quintyne.
“We enjoy each other’s company. She’s my best friend and I’m her best friend,” said Kyshona, who is more forthcoming. “I’m so delighted to be in the West Indies camp and join my sister and the other girls. This is a step towards the dream we share. We have a dream that we would both play together in the West Indies team and do really well and it’s up to me now to force my way into the team. I’m excited to be here, but I’m not going to let the excitement get in the way of the hard work. The hard work will get me to the top.”
Kycia made her international debut a year ago when West Indies beat Pakistan in a home series and was a member of the squad which reached the semi-finals of the ICC World T20 Championship in Sri Lanka two month ago.
“Having her in the camp is really good for both of us. We have set high standards and we push each other to get better and do better. In the evening after we leave training, we sit and talk about what happened during the day and see how we can improve the following day. I’m always happy when she does well and she’s always happy when I do well,” said Kycia, who is appears shy but thoughtful.
The sisters are natural athletes and have represented Barbados in three sporting disciplines – cricket, football and track and field. As schoolgirls they were part of the all-conquering Springer Memorial Secondary School track and field team in Barbados, and they have both played football for the Barbados junior and senior teams.
In addition, Kycia represented the island in hurdles at the Central American & Caribbean Games for juniors, while Kyshona did field events at the CARIFTA Games – the regional junior championships which produced several Olympic champions including Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell-Browne and Kerani James.
The road to the Windies team has not been easy for Kyshona.
“I had an injury a few years ago. I was 16 and the ACL and MCL in my right knee got torn and I needed reconstruction surgery. I could not play any sports for over two years and it was a very tough time for me, but my sister was always there for me and she always helped to lift my spirits,” she said.
“It was a lot of pain and a lot of physical therapy, but I never let the dream die. After I recovered I tried to get back as fit as possible and she helped me at every stage. I would go and watch her play every game and I would always say when I get back on my feet I want to be just like my sister.”
The sisters take inspiration from West Indies players Dwayne and Darren Bravo.
“They are brothers and they made it to the West Indies team so we believe we can do it as well. They are a form of motivation and inspiration for us. We believe that if you can have two brothers in the West Indies team, you can have two sisters too. Darren is our favourite cricketer because he is a left-hander, like we are,” Kycia said.
“We want to play together and perform for West Indies. We don’t just want people to say ‘the twins played together’, we want to be known as the twins who perform for the West Indies and we also want to break into the Top 10 in the batting rankings.”
The West Indies women’s squad will be in camp at the Sagicor High Performance Centre until December 15, under the guidance of Head Coach Sherwin Campbell. They will face South Africa in five One-Day Internationals and two T20 Internationals. The full match schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.
The ICC Women’s World Cup India 2013 will be held in Mumbai from January 31 to February 17 and feature the top eight ODI women’s sides in the world – Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies.
The matches will be played at five venues across Mumbai, which are: Wankhede Stadium, Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Cricket Club of India (CCI), Middle Income Group Club Ground (MIG) and DY Patil Stadium.