Harris takes inspiration from Dhoni as Heat's finisher
Brisbane's most destructive batter has added a new layer to her game this season
Laura Jolly at North Sydney Oval
25 October 2020, 05:24 PM AEST
Grace Harris has revealed she is channeling MS Dhoni as she looks to craft herself into an elite finisher for the Brisbane Heat.
Harris started the Rebel WBBL season in ominous fashion on Sunday, hammering 53 from 37 deliveries to pave the way to a seven-wicket win over the Perth Scorchers.
The 27-year-old has long held a reputation as one of the most damaging batters in the WBBL and holds the record for the league’s fastest century.
It is that sort of brute strength that saw Harris sport a black eye on Sunday; the outcome of an unfortunate run in with the WBBL Village’s golf simulator.
Harris managed to strike a golf ball so hard that, rather than land safely in the net, it bounced back and hit her in the face.
However, that explosiveness has often been tempered by inconsistency, an area Harris has been actively working to address – training herself to assess a match situation, rather than going big simply because she can.
"At the start I struggled to get off strike and in the past, I probably would have panicked a little bit and either had a crack at one or tried to go large too early," Harris said of her innings on Sunday.
"I know I’ve got the ability to catch up so it’s about finding that now.
"It is a mindset change for me and a change of role.
"If I was playing (up top) I was generally told to go out and have a crack and try and get ahead of the game as quickly as I could, now I’m sitting in that middle-order role (it’s about) trying to get in and go deep in the innings."
On Sunday, the right-hander kept her cool after a slow start left her on 11 from 18 deliveries, timing her run to perfection.
Just as the run rate started to climb above seven in the 11th over, Harris launched, hitting two sixes and a four from three Nicole Bolton deliveries.
She hit 39 runs from 18 balls to quickly bring the chase to heel, and while she departed with 10 runs required, Redmayne and Laura Kimmince were able to ice victory with 18 balls remaining.
"I’ve found its really just working for me, the game plan I’ve got," Harris continued.
"I can catch up, it doesn’t matter how many dot balls I have – it’s not ideal and you want to rotate the strike as much as possible – but in situations like today where I struggle early, it’s (about) remaining in a calm mindset.
"I’ve been watching a lot of MS Dhoni’s innings really, I took a bit of inspiration from him.
"He’s a fantastic finisher of the game and he might get behind but at the end of the day, they win games and he’s ahead of the count.
"I’m definitely hoping to do something similar to that."
While Beth Mooney’s departure to the Perth Scorchers left a vacancy at the top of the Heat order, captain Jess Jonassen and coach Ashley Noffke opted against elevating Harris into the position.
Instead, she is likely to continue being employed in the middle order.
Speaking to cricket.com.au recently, Noffke predicted ‘some big things coming’ for Harris.
"We've had 12 months investment into Grace, I'd like to say that she's about to explode – that's what I'd love for her," Noffke said.
"She's definitely more level than she was last year, I can see it in her eyes; she's connected and engrossed in our group, and I can push her and she doesn't bite as much as she used to."