Women's Ashes ODIs
England just the ticket for Kimmince
The UK holds a special place in Delissa Kimmince's heart, now the allrounder hopes to play in her first away Ashes series
31 May 2019, 06:22 AM AEST
If Delissa Kimmince finds herself boarding a plane for the Ashes next month, it’s safe to say this English experience will be in stark contrast to her first foray to the United Kingdom in 2011.
Then, a disillusioned Kimmince had walked away from the game she loved, turning down an Australian contract just one year after making her debut in the green and gold.
It wasn’t a decision the then-19-year-old had taken lightly, but also one that had felt unavoidable as she found herself hating cricket.
What started out as a job pulling pints in a London pub would ultimately lead Kimmince back to cricket – and foster the relaxed attitude which has become the cornerstone of her game a decade later.
Working and living at The Princess Louise in Holborn, Kimmince was a world away from the pressures of sport and the life she’d known growing up in Warwick in south-east Queensland.
And it was exactly what she needed, as she sought to find out who she was without cricket as a constant.
"It was pretty loose, to say the least," a laughing Kimmince told cricket.com.au of that time in her life.
"There were 10 Aussies and one English guy all living in the pub and 4am was our bedtime, it was the most bizarre lifestyle.
"I never really drank or partied before that, when I went there I found myself doing it for 10 months, and then I came back home and I didn’t really do it again.
"I worked 40 hours a week in the pub … I loved living in London, nothing felt real."
It’s an experience countless Australians will relate to. But it was only a matter of time before Kimmince found herself drawn back to cricket – albeit on a playing field that was literally a half world away from what she’d left behind.
Talked into playing for Warwickshire, Kimmince was the equivalent of a fly-in, fly-out player, taking the three-hour train journey to matches each week, but without the pressure of training.
It was that experience – and the friendships she forged along the way – that paved the way for her eventual return to high-level cricket in Australia.
"I had one of the best seasons I’ll ever have, I think purely because I just rocked up and played,” she said.
"I wasn’t training because of where I was living and it proved to me that when there’s no expectation you do play with a lot more freedom.
"That’s what I took away from it, if you go out there to enjoy yourself and have fun you are more likely to perform than if you’re putting all that expectation and pressure on yourself."
Ultimately, Kimmince’s stay in the UK was short but sweet: "I was over there for 10 months and then I ran out of money so I had to come back," she laughed.
The Queenslander returned to the Women's National Cricket League in 2012-13 season and in 2014, was recalled to the Australian team.
A return to the UK and a maiden away Ashes beckoned for the allrounder one year later, only for it to be snatched away at the last minute in cruel fashion when she tore a ligament in her back.
It meant she could only watch on from home as Australia won back the Ashes on English soil for the first time since 2001.
"I couldn't move," she explained. "(Head coach) Matthew Mott was giving me until the Thursday to prove I was fit, but I rang him on the Monday and said I couldn't even see past the plane flight.
"I couldn't sit down for more than 20 minutes, I had to lie in the fetal position. It was the most painful thing I've ever had.”
Kimmince lost her national contract following that injury, but since fighting her way back into the Australian XI for the final T20I leg of the home Ashes in late 2017, she’s been a mainstay of the 20-over side.
Now, she’s crossing everything she’ll be part of this year’s Ashes campaign, which will feature three ODIs, one Test and three T20Is.
"It’s the ultimate goal for me in the short term," she said.
"If that time comes it will be a little bit emotional, I guess, after what I went through last time.
"It’d be a moment in my career I’d treasure for quite some time."
To that end, Kimmince is already working hard at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane to ensure she’s fully fit for the multi-format Ashes, which begin with an ODI at Leicester’s Grace Road Oval on July 2.
It’s a position she’d never have imagined she’d be in back in 2011, but a chance she won’t be letting pass her by.
"I thought my time in the green and gold was done, and even if you’d said a couple of years ago I’d be back I wouldn’t have believed it.
"But it’s nice to be in the position I’m in now, so I’m just trying to enjoy my cricket and not put too much pressure on myself."
CommBank Ashes Tour of England
First ODI Grace Road, Leicester, July 2
Second ODI Grace Road, Leicester, July 4
Third ODI St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury, July 7
First T20 County Ground, Chelmsford, July 26
Second T20 The County Ground, Hove, July 28
Third T20 Bristol County Ground, Bristol, July 31
A Test victory is worth four points (two each for a draw), two points are awarded for ODI and T20 wins