Better than ever: Darlingon makes case for Aussie return

Hannah Darlington has returned to the sort of form that saw her earn her first Aussie cap aged 19

Hannah Darlington insists she is a better bowler than when she burst into the national squad two years ago, as the Sydney Thunder quick presses her case for an Australian recall.

Darlington made an immediate impact when she arrived on the Big Bash scene in 2019 aged 17, and by 2021, was making an Australia debut aged 19.

She has not played for her country since those four white-ball appearances against India two years ago, but after taking 13 wickets in her last four WBBL games, is making a very good case for a return.

Darlington said she was a better bowler now than when last picked, having added more variations to her bowling, and she is fighting fit after injuries hampered her 2022-23 summer.

"I'm 100 per cent (bowling better)," Darlington said.

"My body is in a much better situation.

"A few seasons under the belt has put me in good stead to stand at the top of my mark and want to bowl quickly.

"Just playing with pace has been a big thing.

"Bowling the same delivery, but changing the pace with how I use my hands or my wrist in different situations.

"It’s been nice to have a full preseason because you get more time to bowl rather than just being chucked out onto the field and hoping for the best."

Darlington stuns Stars with career-best haul

Darlington was part of Australia’s Ashes squad in January 2022 without playing a game, and while she was named as a travelling reserve for the 2022 World Cup in New Zealand, she withdrew before the tournament, opting to instead take a break from the game after a second summer spent on the road in quarantine and Covid-safe bubbles took a toll.

She then played just seven matches in WBBL|08 after missing the first half of the tournament with a knee injury, taking seven wickets at 27.71 and an economy rate of 8.43 as the Thunder finished on the bottom of the table.

But those concerns are behind her, and a full preseason allowed Darlington time to work on improving her game.

She is also enjoying the chance to work with superstar South Africa allrounder Marizanne Kapp.

Australia have a multi-format tour of India starting in December, with the squad set to be announced next week.

"I'd love to be back in Australian colours," Darlington said.

"Whether that's soon or in a year or two doesn't really bother me at the moment."

The Thunder’s remarkable turnaround from the disappointment of last season sees them sit with six wins from eight matches heading into the business end of the season.

They will meet the Scorchers in a mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash on Sunday at the CitiPower Centre.

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