Eyes wide shut: Peschel puts blind faith into new approach

The Perth Scorchers seamer turned to some unorthodox training methods across the winter that she hopes will help her recapture her best form

Of the places Taneale Peschel expected to find herself this winter, running in and bowling with her eyes shut in the middle of the WACA Ground was not one of them.

The Perth Scorchers quick enjoyed a breakout campaign in WBBL|06 that saw her outclass some of the world's top bowlers to make the team of the tournament.

But a preseason that should have been about small tweaks to improve her game instead saw the 27-year-old forced to completely rework her run up, after fears of a recurrence of the foot injury that saw her sidelined through the first half of 2020.

"I was being closely monitored because of my foot injury and then my loads spiked out of control at the back end of the WNCL season, so I was in strife and I had to quickly head back into the whole rehab phase to get my body right," Peschel told

"I've had to completely strip back my bowling and my whole run up and work really hard on my technique and the biomechanics because of the injuries that I've had.

"I would look like I was falling over every ball, I would overstride which put more tension and load onto my tendons.

"So instead of running underneath my body, I was overreaching, and I had to strip that back and change my running path, which was an absolute nightmare.

"But I'm slowly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel."

The months-long process was a major learning curve for Peschel, one that tested her both mentally and physically.

It was unavoidable, given the severity of the injury that kept her off her feet for much of the 2020 preseason – a tear to her left plantar fascia, the thick ligament that connects the heel to the front of the foot – and which threatened to recur, but the process threw up numerous roadblocks that required some creative thinking as Peschel worked with Western Australia bowling coach Aaron Hamilton, and a left-field suggestion from another WA coach, Matt Mason.

So, how did she end up running around the WACA with her eyes closed? It was all part of the process as she re-stripped her run-up and started again.

"(The coaches) had me closing my eyes, bowling cricket balls in the middle of the WACA with nothing around," Peschel said.

"He just said 'run in and let go of the ball when your body feels like it needs to'.

"So that was something new to learn, and I had to put a lot of trust in him.

Every wicket from Taneale Peschel in WBBL|06

"I had open space, no stumps, nothing, I just had to run and bowl when my body felt like it.

"And actually, surprisingly, I think I did the first six balls and I used 13 steps to run in every single time.

"I don't know how it worked, but it's somehow working."

Peschel's new approach remains a work in progress, with the right-armer struggling with her accuracy and overstepping several times during the Scorchers' first two matches.

But she has the backing of her coach, Shelley Nitschke, who believes Peschel will find her groove as the season progresses.

She is determined to get back to where she left off in WBBL|06 where she thrived after being handed greater responsibility in the Powerplay and at the death, taking 13 wickets and maintaining an economy rate of 5.95.

This season, Peschel has been taking the new ball alongside one of the best in the world, South Africa allrounder Marizanne Kapp, and the Western Australian is looking forward to picking the brains of the fiery Proteas quick.

"I don't think I'm ever a person who is satisfied, but I am confident that it's all coming together," Peschel said.

"The more game time I've had, it's now starting to feel normal.

"When I was first starting out, I was second guessing myself and I just wanted to go back to what I felt comfortable doing because the Big Bash was fast approaching, but I've had to stay resilient.

"(Matt) Mason quickly grounded me, saying it's going to be okay and just keep working at it.

"It felt so abnormal, but now I do it and it's starting to feel normal again."