Mack's unlucky break proves a helping hand

Strikers star reflects on the pre-season work that has seen her become one of the top batters in the WBBL this season

Had Katie Mack acted upon her finely honed medical professional instincts, she might not be the proud holder of a Weber WBBL champions' medallion.

As second-highest runs-scorer behind her close friend and long-time opening partner Laura Wolvaardt, Mack was integral to the Adelaide Strikers' maiden title win in WBBL|08 and has proved even more productive in their championship defence so far this summer.

Her impact is underscored by inclusion in's WBBL|09 team of the season (so far) revealed today.

But the effervescent right-hander finished the 2022-23 season significantly hampered by a hand injury later found to be a fracture that required corrective surgery, thereby compelling her to undertake a revamped winter program which she believes has further benefitted her game.

It was during a Strikers home match against arch-rivals Brisbane Heat a year ago that Mack was struck on the side of her right hand while batting, prompting initial fear from the practising physiotherapist she might have suffered some structural damage.

"I had a sneaking suspicion I'd broken it, I couldn't sleep that night and it was aching quite a bit which is often a telltale sign," Mack told today as she prepared for the Strikers next outing against Melbourne Renegades at Karen Rolton Oval.

"But it recovered pretty well, and then it wasn't really sore at the spot where the ball had impacted so we were thinking there wasn't a fracture.

"The view was with four games to go (in WBBL|08) we just try to push through, even though it was still quite sore around the base of the hand.

"We eventually got an x-ray, but it was an AP (anterior-posterior, or front-on) view which means you don't get any side-on information and it didn't come up as broken."

It wasn't until three months later, when Mack had completed her WNCL commitments as captain of ACT Meteors but was still unable to return to her physiotherapy work due to ongoing pain in her hand, she underwent a more thorough MRI scan.

It revealed a fracture to the hook of her hamate bone just above the wrist, an injury that required surgery to remove a floating fragment of bone and a two-month recuperation period with a plaster cast on her right forearm preventing her from working or picking up a cricket bat.

"If we hadn't waited until the end of WBBL to get it x-rayed, and instead had scans that showed what had happened they (Strikers) probably would have made me get surgery straight away," Mack reflected.

"Once we got the MRI and the side-on view, it showed quite clearly the part that had broken off.

"But even though it was still sore, I was able to keep playing which meant I got to see out the WBBL season, won a premiership and then finished WNCL before having the surgery at the end of the season.

"So I guess as far as injuries go, it was more of an ideal injury than something else."

While the enforced break from her professional and sporting obligations earlier this year was unplanned, Mack decided to focus more fully on cricket once the plaster was removed and claims that decision has helped deliver the form she's found from the outset of the current summer.

Rather than return to the Canberra physiotherapy practice, Mack took a couple of months sabbatical spent largely with her partner in Brisbane but also including a series of pre-season practice games with the Meteors and a stint in Queensland Cricket's KFC T20 Max competition.

With an off-season dominated by in-match preparation rather than endless nets and fitness sessions, Mack has begun 2023-24 in sparkling touch.

Having decided, after a decade as an opener for the ACT women's team, to shift herself to number three in the batting order she currently sits eighth on the WNCL runs-scorer list with 151 at an average of just over 50.

Her WBBL returns have been even more eye-catching, claiming the BKT Golden Bat when she completed her third half-century of WBBL|09 in leading the Strikers' last-ball victory over Perth Scorchers at the WACA.

Mack takes Golden Bat with classy 71

As Mack laughs, she held the honour and its accompanying gold cap "just in time for some photos" before it was claimed by Sydney Thunder opener Chamari Athapaththu but – at just 12 runs adrift – Mack has a chance to grab it back against the Renegades tomorrow evening.

And it's the scrutiny that comes with being a competition benchmark that has helped Mack to evolve her game, which she concedes was previously built around front-foot drives but now - due to necessity - is much more rounded.

"I would normally know I'm in good touch when I'm playing the fuller balls really well, but I think most teams have come in trying to dig it in a bit back of a length to me and bowl a bit straighter," she said.

"So I've had to adjust to that, which means I'm hitting a lot more on the leg side.

"When you score runs, people are going to come up with stronger plans to you so I've been really happy with the way I've adjusted to those, and assessed what they've got and how they're going to bowl at me.

"But the main indicator for me is if I'm seeing the ball really well.

"I can tell if I feel rushed or I'm not picking up the lengths well that I'm either not in a good position, or I'm not watching the ball well enough.

"At the moment I feel like I'm seeing the ball really well, and if it's swinging then it's not worrying me too much.

"I'm able to adjust to back-of-a-length balls and just watch the shots I'm playing, and that's when I start to feel I'm in good nick."

Weber WBBL|09 Standings

Matches played
No results
Net Run Rate
Total points
1 Adelaide Strikers Women Adelaide Strikers Women STR 14 11 3 0 0 1.154 0 22
2 Perth Scorchers Women Perth Scorchers Women SCO 14 8 6 0 0 0.784 0 16
3 Brisbane Heat Women Brisbane Heat Women HEA 14 8 6 0 0 0.203 0 16
4 Sydney Thunder Women Sydney Thunder Women THU 14 7 6 0 1 0.298 0 15
5 Sydney Sixers Women Sydney Sixers Women SIX 14 7 7 0 0 -0.253 0 14
6 Hobart Hurricanes Women Hobart Hurricanes Women HUR 14 6 7 0 1 -0.597 0 13
7 Melbourne Stars Women Melbourne Stars Women STA 14 6 8 0 0 -0.779 0 12
8 Melbourne Renegades Women Melbourne Renegades Women REN 14 2 12 0 0 -0.978 0 4

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

T: Ties

N/R: No results

NRR: Net Run Rate

Ded.: Deductions

PTS: Total points