Blackwell ready to share expertise in UK | cricket.com.au

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Blackwell ready to share expertise in UK

Four Southern Stars will fly out to the UK today for the first England Women's Super League

Alex Blackwell hopes her considerable experience at the highest level will help bring success on foreign soil – and in an entirely foreign environment – as she jets off to the United Kingdom for the inaugural England Women's Super League.

Blackwell is one of four Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars heading to England's new domestic Twenty20 competition, alongside allrounder Ellyse Perry, batter Beth Mooney and quick Rene Farrell.

The tournament will see the Australians join the world's best players at six new franchises, who will play off in 15 group matches from July 30.

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Blackwell, who captained the Sydney Thunder to the first Women's Big Bash League title last summer, said she was looking forward to playing alongside the likes of England star Katherine Brunt and South Africa quick Shabnim Ismail at the Yorkshire Diamonds.

"The Women's Big Bash really freshened up my approach to cricket and I'm really exiting to be part of the Super League," Blackwell told cricket.com.au from a Southern Stars camp in Maroochydore, on the eve of her departure for the UK.

"I hope I can share my experience from the Big Bash share with the Yorkshire Diamonds. I'm not in a captaincy role there, but I'd like to share that experience as a senior player."

Blackwell and her Southern Stars teammates were kept busy at an intense training camp on the Sunshine Coast this week, where the Australia squad continued their preparations for September's tour of Sri Lanka.

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Now, Blackwell hopes that training will translate into plenty of runs on English soil.

"The last two weeks I've had two heavy weeks leading into this camp for the Southern Stars and really looked at power hitting as my main focus, while also playing good cricket shots.

"I've got all the tools in my tool bag, but it's about using them at right time and going out there with confidence. You have to let loose a little bit in T20s. You face on average 15 balls in a T20, so it's all about how you have an impact with those balls and move the game."

After sell-out crowds greeted Australia during the Women's Ashes in England last year, Blackwell is hoping to see a similar response to the Super League, which will be played at grounds including Headingley, Old Trafford and The Oval.

"They did a fantastic job marketing the Ashes matches, with sell-out matches at county games for standalone women's internationals. Hopefully this might be a similar story. It's a new competition, and it's not international but it'll be interesting to see how the public embrace.

"I expect there will be strong crowds."

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The 32-year-old is also eager to see the Women's Big Bash build on the success of its first season when the second edition kicks off on December 10.

"I just thoroughly enjoyed the playing in the Women's Big Bash and I think we saw the tip of the iceberg really with the potential of that tournament.

"We'll see some improvements with totals, number of sixes hit, athleticism in the field, but right now we should be proud of where it is at.

"Professionalism hasn't occurred yet at a domestic level, so as that improves I think we'll see the standard improve even further."

Blackwell will be joined at the Diamonds by Mooney, while Farrell will play for the Surrey Stars and Perry for the Loughborough Lightning.

It's a smaller Australian contingent than was anticipated for the inaugural tournament, thanks to a run of injuries. First, Jess Jonassen was ruled out due to knee surgery, while fast bowler Megan Schutt's own on-going battle with knee issues saw her pull out. Sarah Coyte stepped away for personal reasons and Aussie captain Meg Lanning was the most recent apologee, forced out due to a shoulder problem.

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Perry, captain of the Sydney Sixers team which finished runners-up to the Thunder, is also looking forward to experiencing franchise cricket from a different perspective overseas.

It's also something she thinks will benefit the four Southern Stars representatives in the long run.

"Sometimes a change is as good as a holiday, as they say, so from my point of view it's a fantastic opportunity to be involved in another world class competition," Perry told cricket.com.au.

"To work with new players and new coaches you can always pick up something different, so that’s a really exciting opportunity and I think we’ll all really benefit from that."

The Super League will get underway on July 30 when Yorkshire Diamonds host Loughborough Lightning at Headingley, with the tournament to culminate in the finals day on August 21 at the Essex County Ground in Chelmsford.

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