It is nearly half way through the Women’s National Cricket League and the Women’s Twenty20 competitions and the usual suspects, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars squad players, are performing well. However, fans of the game may have noticed there are a few non-squad players also showing great form.
A successful national side usually stems from a healthy domestic competition. We have seen this in our men’s side with players such as Stuart MacGill and Brad Hodge put in outstanding performances for their state but weren’t able to hold down a regular spot in the green and gold.
So who is knocking on the door? Who are the next batch of players that will be wearing the Southern Stars uniform? The last debutant for Australia was Kristen Beams at 29 years of age – so will it be a young gun, or a proven performer that gets the nod?
While there are a number of players that I could choose, I thought I’d restrict my selection to three. Over the remainder of season I will introduce you to a few others that have performed well and who will no doubt be on the selectors radar.
Kris Britt, the current captain of the Tradies ACT Meteors is currently sitting second on the WNCL run-scorer’s list with a healthy average of 44.66.
Having first represented the Southern Stars in 2003, with an international career spanning 17 ODIs, two T20s and one Test, Britt hasn’t worn the Australian colours since 2008. Over the years I have seen Britt transform her approach, something that all great players must do to if they are going to keep up with our ever changing game.
In my experience, the older you are, the better understanding you have of your game and Britt is certainly using this to her advantage at the moment.
Despite the Southern Stars proving to be strong in the batting department over the last couple of series, Britt is the type of player the selectors could add to the team seamlessly and successfully.
Jemma Barsby, the off spinner from Queensland, has been on the selectors radar for a few seasons now. At the ripe old age of 19, Jemma has already played a staggering number of matches for the Fire, notching up 57 T20s and 27 WNCL matches as well as a WT20 title.
Barsby has been part of the Shooting Stars Squad for a number of seasons and had the experience of touring with the Southern Stars last year for the away Ashes as a development player.
A real fighter, Barsby loves a contest, especially when she or the team is up against it. It is during those times we see the best of Barsby and it is also when we hear a lot from her as well. Never too shy to let the batter know the situation they are in, Barsby is renowned for sharing her opinions regardless of who you are.
While she still has a way to go in developing the art of off-spin and needs to become more consistent, she is a player that loves pressure, and who tends to perform best when the odds are stacked against her – a skill not easily learned. That attribute, coupled with her natural talent, means the selectors will no doubt keep a close eye on Barsby for future Australian duties.
Chloe Piparo from the Alcohol.Think Again Western Fury is a young top order batter who I believe has the makings of a future star. Her statistics so far this season aren’t out of this world, but there is something about her I like.
I first came across Piparo a couple of years ago when the Breakers played against the Fury. A small framed batter, I remember thinking when she came out to bat that it was a great opportunity for me to crowd the bat and put a lot of pressure on her – almost an easy wicket. To my surprise she came down the wicket and hit me over mid-off for four runs. She certainly grabbed my attention then!
This season she has had the opportunity to bat with Charlotte Edwards, arguably one of the best players in the women’s game, at the top of the Fury order. The chance to spend time with Edwards in the middle and to witness how Edwards goes about scoring runs will be vital for her development.
Piparo is still at an age where she is figuring out her game and how she wants to go about it. Therefore, the experience this year with players such as Edwards, Suzie Bates and Fury stalwart, Jenny Wallace, will hopefully allow her to gain that much-needed understanding and confidence.All three players certainly have the ability to play at the top level, but for now their destiny remains in their own hands. The only way to keep your name on the selectors list is to score a mountain or runs and take a bag full wickets consistently.