CommBank T20 Series v NZ
Rising Wareham ready for the big stage
Teenage leg-spinner Georgia Wareham has made an impressive rise through the ranks and could be set to unleash against the Kiwis
Laura Jolly in Sydney
29 September 2018, 11:38 AM AEST
Teenage leg-spinner Georgia Wareham says she'll never forget the moment she received the phone call telling her she'd been selected in the Australian Women's Cricket Team.
The 19-year-old was out to dinner when the call came through from national chief selector Shawn Flegler, informing her she was part of Australia's T20 squad for the Commonwealth Bank Women's T20I series against New Zealand.
She's now a chance to make her international debut against the White Ferns under lights at North Sydney Oval tonight, a moment that would continue what's been a rapid rise for the spinner who hails from Mortlake in western Victoria.
"I was actually out for dinner when my phone rang," Wareham told cricket.com.au. "I knew we were getting calls around that time. It was an amazing time, a really surreal moment and I'll never forget it."
Wareham may still be a teenager, but she's already making a big splash in Australian cricket.
So impressive was her campaign for Australia's Under 19s on their tour of South Africa in April, where she picked up nine wickets across six matches including 4-17 in a 50-over match against the Emerging South Africa side, she produced something CA high performance coach Leah Poulton had never seen before.
"She didn't bowl a bad ball in South Africa," Poulton told cricket.com.au earlier this year. "For a young leggie to have that amount of control is just fantastic.
"I haven't seen a young leggie do that on a long tour like that before."
The youngest player in the inaugural edition of the Rebel Women's Big Bash, Wareham quickly established herself as a key player for the Melbourne Renegades.
She's now part of a crew of budding female leg-spinners coming up the ranks of Australian cricket, alongside South Australia's Amanda-Jade Wellington and Rachel Trenaman, a member of the National Performance Squad alongside Wareham who is starting to make a name for herself at 16.
But while Wellington and Trenaman are both big turners who toss the ball up and give it a rip, Wareham is all about accuracy and control.
She puts her remarkable ability to control the ball down to the sheer volume of time she's spent working on the craft.
"It comes down to a lot of volume and really taking every moment that I train and not wasting it," Wareham said.
With a wrong'un and a top spinner already in her arsenal, Wareham says she's working on her slider.
"I'm trying to perfect them and if I can do that, I'll try some different variations in the future."
Finally! We can't wait to tough it out against the Kiwis tonight! Join us at North Sydney Oval for Fun on the Hill! Limited tickets still available here: https://t.co/34Il2cIW9l pic.twitter.com/Mi7a3gppQG— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@SouthernStars) September 29, 2018
It's that ability to turn the ball both ways, and to bowl leg-spin with pace, that convinced Australian selectors to take a chance on the teenager.
"She just bowls a lot of good balls, spins the ball both ways and asks a lot of questions of the batters," Australia head coach Matthew Mott told cricket.com.au when Australia's squad was announced.
"If we're following the men's trends, the bowlers who've done well in T20s are leg-spinners who bowl reasonably quick and who spin it both ways. That's what we were looking at mostly from her."
When asked to describe the Victorian, Poulton was reluctant to draw too many comparisons between players but said Wareham's abilities were similar to those of former Australia spinner and fellow Victorian Kristen Beams.
Final word from our skipper Meg Lanning as she prepares to lead the Aussies against NZ tomorrow night! #WATCHME pic.twitter.com/qgFz72JUDM— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@SouthernStars) September 28, 2018
Wareham plays alongside Beams for both Victoria and club team Essendon-Maribyrnong Park, and says the 33-year-old has been a valuable mentor.
"Beamsy is really good. We talk a lot about what she thinks about when she's bowling and it's good to be around her," Wareham said.
"I've also been working a lot with (Melbourne Stars left-arm spinner) Michael Beer at Victoria, working on the technical side of things, so it's been good to have his input."
Like just about every up-and-coming Australian leg-spinner of her vintage, Wareham puts her interest in the craft down to the impact of Shane Warne on the game during her formative years.
It was a skill first tested in the backyard of her family home and later worked on in the nets as she made the switch from medium pacers to spin.
Throughout the winter, Wareham had a golden opportunity to lift her game to another level as part of the NPS program, spending a total of eight weeks at Brisbane's Bupa National Cricket Centre working under the country's top coaches to improve her skills and fitness, before taking part in a series of trial matches against the contracted Australian players.
It was a chance to prove to coaches and selectors she has what it takes to step up to the next level and she took it with both hands.
"The NPS is a great program," Mott said. "One of the things for (Wareham) in particular was that both (captain) Meg Lanning and (vice-captain) Rachael Haynes spent a lot of time in the program training with her.
"That gave us the confidence to be able to select her."
CommBank T20 INTLs v NZ
September 29: First T20I, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
October 1: Second T20I, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
October 5: Third T20I, Manuka Oval, Canberra
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
New Zealand squad: Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Sophie Devine, Kate Ebrahim, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Amy Satterthwaite (c), Lea Tahuhu, Jess Watkin