Hat trick hero Graham makes her World Cup bid

Heather Graham made the most of her opportunity in India, snaring seven wickets in three games to give Australia's selectors plenty to ponder for February's T20 World Cup

Heather Graham has joined elite company in just her third T20 International, but the allrounder is not counting her chickens when it comes to World Cup selection.

Graham became just the second Australian women to take a hat-trick in the 20-over format on Tuesday, taking three wickets across two overs as the tourists romped to a 54-run win.

Coincidentally, the other Aussie woman to have achieved the feat is current teammate Megan Schutt, and she did it at the same venue – Mumbai's Brabourne Stadium – in March 2018.

Hat trick! Graham bowls her way into the history books

Graham removed Devika Vaidya (11) and Radha Yadav (0) in the 13th over, then returned to bowl Renuka Thakur with the first ball of the last.

"I actually had no idea (I was on a hat-trick)," Graham said after the match.

"I think Ash (Gardner) came running from maybe squad leg saying, 'Do you want some catchers?' and then TMac was like, 'Oh yeah, you're on a hat trick'.

"I changed (my mind) at the top of my mark, I was going to go a slower ball, and then I was like, 'nah, stuff that, I'm going to bowl on-pace', which I probably haven't done much this tour so I thought it was a little bit of a change up that I have up my sleeve, considering I bowl so many slower balls."

Graham made her T20I debut in the second match at DY Patil Stadium on this tour, taking 3-22 and then delivering the Super Over in a memorable start to her career in the format.

Sights, sounds, sell-out crowds: Australia’s special tour of India

She was subbed out for Nicola Carey for the following match, with Australia assessing their many pace options ahead of February's World Cup, and when she returned to the XI on Saturday her three overs were taken for 40 runs.

But the 26-year-old rebounded in style in the series finale, delivering two overs for figures of 4-8.

"I've had some peaks and troughs in the three games that I've played," Graham said.

"I think this one and the first one I was on top of the world and the game the other day, I tell you what, I was down in the trenches.

"International cricket is hard, it's very hard.

"But I think that's just the nature of cricket ... there's so many amazing players around all the countries now, in the way that they're able to hit the ball and they can access 360-degrees, it's pretty hard to be able to bowl to players like that, especially on grounds that are this fast and wickets that are this batter friendly.

"So it's been a whirlwind."

Graham's return to an Australia XI was a long time coming; she made her ODI debut against Sri Lanka in 2019 before falling out of favour.

But strong domestic campaigns saw her included as a reserve for the one-day World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year, then called in as a late replacement for the T20 tri-series in Ireland in July when Jess Jonassen's arrival was delayed due to COVID.

Graham times leap perfectly for tricky outfield catch

Jonassen's hamstring injury in this series again opened the door for Graham's debut in the second match, and her output across three matches in this series – seven wickets at 10, equal with Gardner on top of the series wickets table but having played two fewer games – suggest she is a strong chance at making the squad of 15 for February's World Cup in South Africa.

But the Tasmania allrounder is not packing her suitcase for that trip just yet.

"I won't hold my breath on being picked, to be completely honest," she said.

"I think the squad that is here, and the players that are back home as well, there's some incredible players.

"I'll just have my fingers crossed. But hopefully, I've shown that I've got a little bit of something in international cricket that could potentially push me a little bit further than some other people."

Australia's T20I tour of India 

1st T20I: Australia won by 9 wickets

2nd T20I: Match tied (India won the Super Over)

3rd T20I: Australia won by 21 runs

4th T20I: Australia won by seven runs

5th T20I: Australia won by 54 runs

Australia squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda-Jade Wellington

India squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Renuka Singh Thakur, Meghna Singh, Anjali Sarvani, Devika Vaidya, S Meghana, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol