Women's Ashes ODIs
Young leggie embraces whirlwind rise to the top
Georgia Wareham has wasted no time finding her feet at international level and now she's got England in her sights
17 June 2019, 05:44 AM AEST
Georgia Wareham and Tayla Vlaeminck had never exchanged so many texts. And for the state teammates, who are also housemates, that’s saying a lot.
The pair had just arrived in Sydney for their first tour with the Australian Women’s Cricket Team last September and understandably, were feeling somewhat nervous about making a good early impression.
Being late for any sort of meeting or departure is the biggest no-no, of course, but there’s also the risk of being too early and appearing overzealous.
"I don't think I’ve ever texted (Tayla) as much as I did during our first tour,” leg-spinner Wareham, 19, told cricket.com.au.
"Because we were both new we didn't really want to be that one that late or anything like that.
"It really helped having Tay in the team as well.
"It was daunting coming into a group that I didn't really know, but they were really, really good in the way they welcomed us into the side."
Right-arm quick Vlaeminck laughed as she recalls those early days of that T20I series against New Zealand.
"I didn't want to put a foot wrong and we didn't want to be late or early, so we just messaged each other a thousand times before we had to go anywhere and made sure we met up at the elevator, so we’d go down together," Vlaeminck, 20, said.
"If we were early we’d go for a quick walk and come back, and if we were late we’d run."
Fortunately for Wareham and Vlaeminck, they found their new teammates to be warm, welcoming and inclusive – and it didn’t take long for their volume of texts to return to normal.
Wareham, in particular, also slotted comfortably into Australia’s XI, as the seemingly unflappable teenager found herself bowling to some of the world’s biggest hitters during that T20I series against New Zealand.
The leg-spinner held her spot in Australia’s XI during October’s tour against Pakistan and throughout the early stages of November’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies, before producing a brilliant display in the tournament decider against England in Antigua.
Paying back the faith shown in her by national selectors when they gave her the nod ahead of fellow leggie Amanda-Jade Wellington, her direct-hit run-out to remove the dangerous Amy Jones made highlights reels around the cricket world, while her two wickets in two balls helped ensure Australia needed just 106 runs to seal their fourth T20 World Cup title.
In all, Wareham played 17 of a possible 18 matches for Australia through the summer before earning her first national contract last month, a strong endorsement of how she fits into the team’s plans heading into their busiest ever year.
"It’s just pretty crazy to think about it all, this time last year I was in South Africa with the Australian under-19 and now 12 months on from that, it’s pretty crazy, I still can't describe any of it," she said.
It’s been a swift rise for Wareham, whose potential was spotted early by talent scouts. Good form for Victoria and the Melbourne Renegades were enough to earn a place in last year’s National Performance Squad – and it took less than six months after that for her to make an international debut.
But the softly spoken teenager from Mortlake in Victoria’s south-west seems to be taking it all in her stride.
Soon enough, it seems likely Wareham will be packing her bags for the United Kingdom, where Australia will be attempting to defend the Ashes – a multi-format series decided by points and featuring three ODIs, one Test and three T20Is.
It’s the potential for a Test debut that has Wareham particularly excited, given she’s never been part of any multi-day match before.
"It would be unreal," she said. "Apart from the World Cup the Ashes are one of the biggest tournaments we play and with the rivalry against England, it will be a really good match up.
"It’s kind of daunting to think about (playing a Test) but it would be really special if I got to put on a Baggy Green … so fingers crossed."
And, while she's settled in the squad now, she will be pleased to have Vlaeminck travelling alongside her, after the quick overcame a knee injury to be named in the Ashes group.
The Australian squad will arrive in England on June 22 and will have a week to adjust to the local conditions in Loughborough ahead of the first ODI at Leicester’s Grace Road Oval on July 2.
CommBank Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
June 26: England Academy v Australia, Loughborough
June 28: England Academy v Australia, Loughborough
July 2: First ODI, Grace Road, Leicester
July 11-13: England Academy v Australia, Marlborough College, Swindon
July 18-21: Only Test, The County Ground, Taunton
July 26: First T20, County Ground, Chelmsford
July 28: Second T20, The County Ground, Hove
A Test victory is worth four points (two each for a draw), two points are awarded for ODI and T20 wins