Perth enforcer Peschel tasked with keeping Stars in line

Taneale Peschel has enjoyed a breakout season with the Perth Scorchers but faces a mighty task in tonight's first WBBL semi-final to tame the Melbourne Stars batting

Taneale Peschel admits she was filled with trepidation heading into this Rebel WBBL season following a long injury lay-off, but those fears have proved unfounded with the Perth Scorchers pacer producing her best season to date.

Peschel has been her team's leading quick through WBBL|06 and was named in the WBBL Team of the Tournament on Tuesday night, having picked up 13 wickets and maintaining an economy rate of 5.95.

The breakout season came after Peschel feared the worst heading into the tournament, feeling underdone by a shortened preseason that was hampered a frustrating and painful foot injury.

A tear to her left plantar fascia – the thick ligament that connects the heel to the front of the foot – came late in the 2019-20 domestic season, and the painful injury would keep her off her feet for much of the off-season that followed.

"I was a little bit scared coming in … but it's been quite a good one coming off not much of a preseason, not having many net sessions or center wicket practices," Peschel told ahead of the Scorchers' semi-final showdown against the Melbourne Stars.

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"(The injury) was quite significant and it was a shaky rehab.

"It's kind of like walking with a knife in your foot or on shards of glass.

"I was in a moon boot for four weeks and then out of the boot for six weeks and had it rescanned, and it was the same, if not worse.

"So I had to go back into a moon boot for three weeks and had a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection … and it started to recognise that part of my foot was injured and it finally started to heal.

"I didn't run for four months and didn't bowl a ball for just as long."

The right-armer has thrived under the greater responsibility handed to her by new coach Shelley Nitschke and captain Sophie Devine, taking the ball in the Powerplay and bowling crucial overs at the death.

"It goes to show if you're really resilient in what you want to do and where you want to go, good things do happen," Peschel said.

The 26-year-old's journey through elite cricket has not been a straight-forward one. In her late teens she walked away from the game, seeking a different path.

"I was only young, I was 18 or 19 and in and around a group of older women and I didn't feel like I belonged," she explained.

"I thought if I don't feel like I belong, I won't put myself through it.

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"I didn't really enjoy the high-performance aspect of it, I wasn't comfortable so I thought I would give it a break.

"So, I went another way and tried to find another source of career… but then I found myself back."

Peschel's time away included an unsuccessful application to join the Western Australia police force – she got down to the final stages of the lengthy process before just missing out – before she was coaxed into giving cricket another shot by former Scorchers and Western Australia coach Lisa Keightly.

She played two matches as an injury replacement player in WBBL|04 and was awarded a full contract a year later.

"Lisa said we'd like to offer you this, you can come down to training and see how you go and see if you actually do still enjoy cricket," Peschel explained.

"I never stopped playing cricket, I just didn't play it professionally.

"I was trying to rebuild the passion and I knew it was there, but I wanted to make sure it was what I wanted to do.

"I decided it I was going to come back, I was going to give it a real good crack.

"And here I am today."

Peschel currently juggles cricket with her other job at a sporting goods store, while studying a Certificate IV in Youth Work.

It is the latter that is quietly helping set her up for the future, when she does eventually call time on cricket for good.

"I (still) want to be a police officer so it will help my application process for that," she explained.

For now though, Peschel's attention is on Wednesday's blockbuster semi-final against the Melbourne Stars at North Sydney Oval.

Her captain Devine believes she will be crucial in helping contain a star-studded Stars batting line-up that features Australia captain Meg Lanning alongside Elyse Villani, England allrounder Natalie Sciver, and South Africa's Mignon du Preez.

"She's been fantastic," Devine told of her leading pace weapon.

"She's put in a lot of hard work, she's had a hard run with injuries but it shows the character she has.

"She's done a lot of the hard work by herself in the gym and slogging away, and I'm absolutely rapt to see she's getting some really great reward for the hard work she's been doing."