CommBank Series v India - ODIs
Wonder from Kapunda: The fresh face of pace wave
The youngest Australian to take an ODI four-for, Darcie Brown is the cheery, youthful and slightly sunburnt face of an exciting crop of young quicks
Adam Burnett , in Mackay
21 September 2021, 07:25 PM AEST
By the time she had finished speaking with what seemed like half the cricket world's media, Darcie Brown still hadn't had a chance to check in with her own family back home in Kapunda, South Australia.
The 18-year-old, who today became the youngest Australian to take four wickets in an ODI during the hosts' nine-wicket shellacking of India in the series opener in Mackay, seemed blissfully unaware of the magnitude of her achievement.
Not only wasn't she expecting her phone to have been bombarded, she wasn't even sure anyone in her family had been watching the television coverage.
"They were probably at work, I reckon," she mused, as if it was the first time she had actually given it much thought.
The face of Australia's next wave of fast bowling – or more accurately, one of the faces – is a cheery, youthful and slightly sunburnt one. Earmarked for big things by Aussie pace legend Cathryn Fitzpatrick as a 14-year-old, Brown is a refreshingly unaffected teen who appeared as unflustered facing a volley of questions in the post-match media conference as she did bowling to some of the world's most renowned batters.
Her first answer summed up the way she seems to be taking this early success in her stride. Asked why she thinks it all came together in her first match in more than five months, and just her third for her country, she was at once honest and modest.
"I've got no idea," said the pace prodigy, who claimed figures of 4-33 from nine overs, which included four of India's top five batters.
"I guess everyone gets wickets every now and then, and I'm just pretty lucky they've all come today. But you never know, I might have four games where I don't have a wicket. But yeah, just pretty lucky that I got a few poles today.
"Thanks to Meg (Lanning) for letting me bowl a little bit longer to get into some more rhythm, and luckily it paid off."
For now, Brown appears content to be part of what she labelled a "fast-bowling cartel", and given both the quality of pace options within the squad as well as her age and the workload management issues that come with that, she will almost certainly be rotated in and out of the side throughout this multi-format series.
But the early signs were promising. On a pitch that didn't quite deliver on its pre-match promise of pace and bounce, she still found a way to succeed with some back-of-a-length bowling, notably removing Shafali Verma and Deepti Sharma with deliveries aimed at the ribs.
It is a good bet Brown honed that short-pitched approach while taking on her two older brothers and even her old man on the synthetic pitch they once found on a trip to the local dump in Kapunda, about an hour north of Adelaide.
The Browns took it home, unrolled it out the front of their house, and put it to use.
The pitch stayed there for many years, and Brown, who debuted for the Adelaide Strikers last year, has become its greatest beneficiary. She has benefited too, from the Achilles injury that befell the luckless Tayla Vlaeminck prior to the quarantine period for this series.
At present, Vlaeminck is probably the only bowler in Australia who edges Brown for pace, and so the teen has presented as her squad mate's most like-for-like replacement.
On Friday, however, it could be an altogether different story, with another impressive teenage quick, Stella Campbell, waiting in the wings, and head coach Matthew Mott making no secret of his plans to rotate through his fast bowlers with a view to managing them as carefully as possible.
And if Brown is relegated to the bench for game two, there is little doubt she will take the news with the same sunny disposition with which she seems to approach everything else.
CommBank Series v India
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Maitlan Brown, Stella Campbell, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Georgia Redmayne, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
India Test and ODI squad: Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shikha Pandey, Jhulan Goswami, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh, Ekta Bisht.
India T20I squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Shikha Pandey, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh (wk), Harleen Deol, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Renuka Singh.
First ODI: Australia defeated India by nine wickets
Sep 30 – Oct 3: Test match, Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast (D/N)