West Indies star Deandra Dottin revealed a word to the wise from Alzarri Joseph helped deal with the depths of ‘depression’ caused by shoulder injury.
One of the game’s defining figures, Dottin suffered a serious injury to her right shoulder in early 2019 and underwent reconstructive surgery in June.
So agonising was her recovery that she nearly gave up the game, and the explosive all-rounder says fellow West Indies international Joseph’s advice from experience of the same injury helped keep her believing.
“There were points when I felt like I was getting somewhere,” said Dottin, “but there were times when I took 50 steps back, and I was so close to a point when I said 'that's it.' I didn't think I would get back with the West Indies, or even getting back playing cricket at all.
"I felt so restless. I'm a very active person and I couldn't run. It was just therapy back home. It was around that time when I started to get depressed. I didn't even think I was going to be able to use my shoulder how I used to use it. I was so close to giving up and calling it a day.
"Speaking to people gave me a boost. I actually had a conversation with Alzarri as he had a similar injury to me. He felt the same way but he kept pushing and he gave me some tips on how to keep positive and keep on that track. I found ways to stay on the positive track.”
It’s hard to imagine a T20 World Cup without Dottin - she's played in all editions to date - and is the sixth-highest run-scorer and fifth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament’s history.
The 28-year-old is destructive with bat in hand and one of the world’s fastest bowlers, despite coming off a relatively short run-up.
Match-turning spells in the T20 World Cup include four for 12 against England in 2014, three wickets against India in their own backyard in 2016 and five for five against Bangladesh on home soil in the Caribbean in 2018.
But Dottin hasn’t bowled for West Indies in over a year and skipper Stafanie Taylor, who knows her better than anyone, has admitted managing her workload will be a challenge.
The Barbadian insists she’s capable of contributing to her side’s Group B campaign with ball in hand.
“The injury has obviously had a big impact on my bowling,” she said. “Being able to come back and just be able to bat was massive, but the bowling is coming along good. I think that my shoulder is actually feeling stronger than it was before the injury. I feel very good about it.”
The T20I format has bent to Dottin’s will at times - she struck its first century against South Africa in 2010, still the fastest across the men’s or women’s game, bringing up the milestone in 38 balls.
Since she last played a T20I, there have been 14 centuries scored and Dottin is convinced further records will fall this month.
“There will be a lot of records broken in this tournament,” she said. “Cricket is fast evolving, players are improving so much. They're getting stronger, all teams are learning new things.
“Having been able to watch the men's game and how they do different stuff, that's had a big impact on the girls as well. There are girls trying things that they're seeing men do, and I think it's great.”