Women's Ashes ODIs
How spearhead Schutt shot to the top
From teenage ratbag to the best bowler in the world, Australia spearhead Megan Schutt looms as key to her team's hopes in the upcoming Ashes
16 June 2019, 05:44 AM AEST
If you’d asked a teenaged Megan Schutt to hazard a guess at what her life might look like circa 2019, her predictions would likely have been rather wide of the mark.
After all, the South Australian was a self-confessed teen terror who has admitted to stealing the first cricket bat she ever owned.
Safe to say, Schutt’s undergone a major evolution both as a player and a person in the years since.
On the field, the now-26-year-old is the world’s top-ranked T20 bowler, the spearhead of the Australian women’s team and captain of her state.
Off field, Schutt is a homeowner, newlywed – having married wife Jess in March – and the proud fur parent of golden retriever Eddie and rescue cat Whitney.
A canny in-swing bowler who troubles the world’s best batters with her movement and variations rather than out-and-out pace, Schutt never imagined she’d rise to the top of the ICC’s bowling rankings.
But a conversation with former Australia bowling coach Joe Dawes changed everything.
"Our bowling coach at the time, he said to me, ‘What’s your goal?’ I said, ‘To be in the top 20 bowlers in the world’," Schutt told FootyPlus late last month.
"He said why not number one?’ I said, ‘That’s stupid.’
"But from there my perspective changed, like, why not aim for number one?"
That goal is one Schutt achieved first the first time following the 2017 Ashes in Australia – and has held for the last 14 months since regaining the position in India last March - while in the one-day format she’s currently ranked No.4.
Schutt happily credits cricket for how her life has turned out.
"Five or six years ago, if me and my friends had picked who’d be first to be married, it definitely wouldn’t have been me," a laughing Schutt told cricket.com.au last month.
"My whole perspective on life has changed, I’m a bit of a softer person now.
"At that age you think you know it all and as you get older you realise you don’t know anything.
"Coming into an environment that’s professional and having good people around me made me grow up, which is what I needed to do.
"Having a bit of responsibility on my shoulders has been a good thing I think, it keeps you accountable.
"And I think I’ve eased up in a way, just being more light-hearted and not taking life so seriously … I think I’ve done a 180, only thing that’s still there is my sense of humour."
Schutt’s skills with the ball will be crucial for Australia as they head into an away Ashes campaign in England, due to begin in Leicester on July 2.
Unlike the men’s Ashes, the women’s series is points-based and comprises three T20Is, three ODIs and one Test.
For the South Australian, the shift in formats doesn’t change much in her approach to the game – the longer formats merely testing her patience – but the English conditions are an environment she’s eager to get back to.
"I do like bowling there, it’s not favoured too much to either side," she said.
"I really like the smaller grounds and the boutique atmosphere. It’s always a good contest against the English."
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