Hayley Kristen Matthews, born on March 19, 1998, is a versatile sportswoman from Barbados, known for her prowess in international cricket and her remarkable achievements in track and field events. As an all-rounder in cricket, she excels as a right-handed batter and right-arm off-break bowler. Her cricketing journey has taken her to various domestic teams, including Barbados Royals, Melbourne Renegades, and the Hobart Hurricanes. However, her talent isn’t confined to just cricket; she has also represented Barbados in the javelin throw at numerous international track and field competitions. This article delves into her inspiring journey in both sports and her remarkable contributions to the West Indies women’s cricket team.
Early Life and Cricketing Roots
Hayley Matthews was born in Barbados and raised in its vibrant capital, Bridgetown. Her father, Mike Matthews, played a significant role in her early cricketing influences. Mike, who batted at no. 4 and bowled off-breaks for the Pickwick Cricket Club, was a prominent figure in the island’s cricketing circles. He had previously represented the Barbados Under-19 team, and his love for the game undoubtedly left an indelible mark on young Hayley.
One of Hayley’s earliest memories revolves around joining her father and older brother, Wayne, in games of cricket at home after school. She fondly recalls accompanying Wayne to the Pickwick Club’s home ground, Kensington Oval, where they would run around and even step onto the field during breaks. These childhood experiences laid the foundation for her love for the sport.
Hayley Matthews’ formal initiation into cricket came during her time at People’s Cathedral Primary School, conveniently located next to her home. At just eight or nine years old, she approached the boys’ team coach and expressed her desire to join the team. Much to her delight, her request was granted, making her one of the early trailblazers for female cricketers in Barbados. By the age of 11, she had risen to the position of team captain, demonstrating her leadership qualities from a young age.
As she transitioned to secondary education at Harrison College, Barbados’s most prestigious secondary school, her cricketing journey continued to flourish. Harrison College, often referred to as the ‘Eton College of Barbados,’ boasts a rich history and a legacy of sporting excellence, with alumni that include cricketing legends like Sir Pelham (“Plum”) Warner and Sir Clyde Walcott.
Hayley Matthews wasted no time and quickly became an opening batter for Harrison College’s previously all-boys’ Under-13 cricket team. With her inclusion, the team achieved immediate success, winning tournaments and establishing her as a valuable player. Notably, she became the first female captain of the team during her final year in the Under-13 category.
Hayley Matthews firmly believes that young female cricketers should play in boys’ teams to hone their skills, especially in facing fast bowling and improving their fielding. At just 18 years old, she made her presence felt in the Men’s First Division for the Pickwick Club, where she shared the field with renowned male players, including West Indies batter Shai Hope. Remarkably, she maintains strong friendships with many of the male players she used to captain during her Under-13 days.
Domestic Cricket Career
West Indies / Barbados Hayley Matthews’ domestic cricket journey began at the tender age of 12 when she made her debut for the Barbadian cricket team. Her early entry into senior cricket showcased her prodigious talent and paved the way for a promising career.
Australia: Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) The 2015–16 season saw Hayley Matthews venture into Australian domestic cricket. She represented the Tasmanian Roar in the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) and donned the Hobart Hurricanes’ jersey in the inaugural season of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL). One memorable WBBL match against the Melbourne Stars saw her scoring an impressive 77 runs from just 51 balls.
In November 2018, Hayley Matthews continued her association with the Hobart Hurricanes, solidifying her reputation as a dynamic player in the WBBL.
England: The Hundred In 2021, Hayley Matthews was drafted by Welsh Fire for the inaugural season of The Hundred, a groundbreaking 100-ball cricket competition in England. Her participation marked her versatility and adaptability to different formats of the game.
In April 2022, she was once again bought by the Welsh Fire for the 2022 season of The Hundred in England, underlining her value as a sought-after cricketer on the global stage.
India March 2023 brought another exciting chapter in Hayley Matthews’ cricketing journey as she was selected to play for the Mumbai Indians in the 2023 Women’s Premier League (WPL). Her performance in the league was nothing short of spectacular, as she scored 271 runs and picked up 16 wickets, ultimately helping her team secure the WPL title. She earned the prestigious Purple Cap as the leading wicket-taker and was named the Player of the Tournament for her outstanding all-round contributions.
International Cricket Career
Hayley Matthews’ international debut for the West Indies took place when she was just 16 years old, in a Twenty20 International against New Zealand in September 2014. Her One Day International (ODI) debut followed shortly thereafter, with a remarkable performance that saw her scoring 55 runs from 86 balls in the first game of a four-ODI series against Australia. In the subsequent games, she continued to impress with scores of 89 runs from 108 balls and 60 runs from 81 balls.
Since her international debut, Hayley Matthews has been a regular presence in the West Indies women’s cricket team. One of her crowning achievements was her vital role in the team’s victory at the 2016 World Twenty20, where she scored 66 runs from 45 balls in the final.
In October 2018, Cricket West Indies (CWI) recognized her talent and awarded her a women’s contract for the 2018–19 season. During the same period, she was named in the West Indies’ squad for the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament, where she was appointed vice-captain and identified as the player to watch.
In January 2020, Hayley Matthews was named in the West Indies’ squad for the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia. Her consistent performances earned her a central contract from Cricket West Indies in May 2021. In October 2021, she was selected to represent the West Indies in the 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier tournament in Zimbabwe, and in February 2022, she was named in the West Indies team for the 2022 Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.
Hayley Kristen Matthews’ incredible journey as a versatile sportswoman reflects her passion, talent, and dedication to cricket and track and field. Her contributions to the West Indies women’s cricket team have been instrumental in their success, and her performances in domestic leagues around the world have earned her a well-deserved reputation as a dynamic all-rounder.
As Hayley Matthews continues to shine on both the cricket pitch and the athletics field, she serves as an inspiration to aspiring young athletes, breaking barriers and excelling in multiple sports. Her journey is a testament to the power of determination, talent, and hard work, and she remains a key figure in the world of women’s cricket.