Familiarity breeds strong team bonds
The power of a team comfortable in their own skin has been shown by some surprising early season results in the WBBL
Lisa Sthalekar is an Australian cricket legend who was the first player to score 1,000 runs and take 100 wickets in ODIs in her glittering Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars career. This summer, she is staging a comeback for the Sydney Sixers in the Women's Big Bash League.
After the first two weekends of the inaugural Rebel Women's Big Bash League all teams have now played their first match. We have been lucky to witness big hits, wickets falling and some sensational catching. Not only has the performance on the field been awe inspiring, the support from the general public and media have outdone themselves in getting behind the WBBL tournament.
The Hobart Hurricanes are out in front by the smallest of margins, coming away with four wins from as many matches. Whereas the Sydney Sixers are sitting on the bottom of the table, winless after their four matches. Certainly not the start we were all hoping for.
Having now played three different teams and following the results of the other matches, there doesn't seem to be a clear favourite in the competition. Everyone initially thought that the Perth Scorchers might be the team to beat given their top order consisting of Charlotte Edwards, one of the most prolific run scorers in the women's game, plus Southern Stars duo Elyse Villani and Nicole Bolton and New Zealand captain Suzie Bates. But even the Scorchers have dropped a game against the Brisbane Heat last weekend.
WATCH: Heat get away win over Scorchers
The Adelaide Strikers are still a contender for the first WBBL crown, however even they lost their first two matches against the Hurricanes.
What I have noticed so far is teams predominately made up from their WNCL state squad with the addition of internationals seem to be fairing better than the Melbourne and Sydney teams.
WATCH: Harris ton turns up the Heat
I hear you say what about the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder, they haven't dropped a match. That is very true, but looking a little closer at their roster, they both boast more players from their WNCL squad than the Melbourne Renegades and Sixers.
Moving away from those two cities, take for instance Brisbane Heat, who in my mind are the front runners, especially after playing them over the weekend. All their players bar three have played for Queensland Fire in the WNCL. The three non-WNCL players include two English Internationals (Kate Cross and Lauren Windfield) and Grace Harris' sister, Laura, listed to provide some hitting power.
Those three players are walking into a ready-made side that has worked hard together since the start of the season and for this group, the bond is even greater as they have trained together for a number of years.
The Hurricanes are in a similar situation to the Heat, except their group is even tighter as all their players including their two internationals. Heather Knight and Hayley Matthews played during this season's WNCL.
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Each team can only have five internationals participate in each match, though they can have more on their list. The Hurricanes have only three internationals on their roster, deciding to stick with players that have already played for Tasmania and that plan seems to be working so far.
Looking at the other end of the spectrum, the team I am associated with – the Sydney Sixers – is made up of five players that were part of the Breakers, four from the ACT Meteors (with some not playing many matches in the WNCL), three internationals, one from Queensland, one from the Breakers Academy and myself out of retirement.
With only six days together as a team, before our first game we have had to quickly try and figure out each other's personality, where players prefer to bat, bowl and field. We have played like a side that is trying to figure that out. I am certainly not trying to come up with excuses for our poor performance so far in the competition, because they have been extremely poor.
WATCH: Scorchers smash Sixers in Perth
All it takes is for either the Renegades or the Sixers to get a win under their belt and they could certainly be right up there come the business end of the competition.
As we all know cricket is funny game and T20 cricket is even funnier, as one over can change the momentum of the match and potentially the season.
The make-up of the teams and how each performs in the inaugural WBBL will be closely watched by all. Will teams consisting of the majority of their state side fair better than those brought together from different states and/or countries?
I guess we will have to wait and see.
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