Nicola Carey isn’t quite sure about the temperature in her new home just yet.
But the opportunities her recent move to Tasmania could present – both at state and international level – made it an offer far too good to pass up.
Carey’s surprise move to Tasmania and Hobart Hurricanes was announced last week, with the allrounder departing her native NSW and the Sydney Thunder, where she’d played since the inaugural season of the Rebel WBBL.
The 25-year-old arrived in her new hometown earlier this month but barely had time to unpack her bags before heading to Brisbane for a training camp with her Australian teammates at the Bupa National Cricket Centre.
"I was looking for a bit of a fresh start and I thought this was the perfect place to come down so, here I am in really cold Hobart," Carey told cricket.com.au.
"I was looking for a little bit more opportunity and the Tigers and Hurricanes put forward a really good opportunity.
"I thought it was too good to pass up. I’ve heard really good things about the program down here. And speaking to (new teammate) Steph Daffara and a couple other girls who have worked under (coach) Salliann Briggs previously, they've all spoken really highly of her.
"She showed me some of the program and I was seriously impressed with that."
It’s been a big year for Carey, who made her one-day international debut in India last March and was part of Australia’s T20 World Cup-winning squad.
She was also involved in one of the most memorable moments of the Rebel WBBL season, albeit for reasons she’d probably rather forget; her attempted final-ball six was brilliantly caught on the boundary by the Heat’s Haidee Birkett, denying the Thunder a spot in the final.
Carey played all three ODIs during last year’s India tour and another three against Pakistan last October, but hasn’t yet managed to cement herself in the T20I side, playing just one match to date and carrying drinks through the successful World Cup campaign in the Caribbean.
And Carey isn’t satisfied with just playing the odd game between drinks, and she hopes the extra responsibility she’ll carry at Tasmania can help her make the case for a more permanent place in Australia’s ODI and T20I XIs.
"I just felt like I am at a point now where I want to be making an impact in domestic cricket and therefore putting my name forward more so for Aussie selection,” she said.
"I'm quite fresh into the set-up so I need to be putting my best foot forward where I can and this was the best place to come to get that opportunity to do that, so now I just have to make the most of it."
The shift south is a big move for the Sydney-born allrounder, whose first taste of the sport came in the backyard with her brothers before she rose up the ranks of representative cricket and broke into the NSW team before her 18th birthday.
While the weather in the Apple Isle is proving a shock to the system, it’s not the only reason Carey hopes she’ll be spending the majority of the winter elsewhere, as she eyes a spot in Australia’s squad for the Ashes tour of the UK that begins next month.
"World Cups are massive and next to that are Ashes series,” she said.
"I’ve never been a part of one and to play it over in England as well, that would be really exciting if I could get on that tour."
Carey was forced to sit out the trans-Tasman ODI series that ended the Australian summer in February due to a bulging disc in her back. It was a frustrating finish to the season, particularly given the allrounder had claimed player-of-the-match honours in the domestic 50-over final earlier the same month.
With the back issue now under control, Carey is eager to get back on the training track and ready for the multi-format Ashes, which will feature three ODIs, one Test and three T20Is.
"It’s not a major injury or anything like that, it was just very poor timing for the back end of the year, which was a bit disappointing," she said.
"It was frustrating, I suppose, because I’d gotten through the whole season unscathed and all the tours and then I couldn't really quite make it through those last few games.
"But it seems fine at the moment, it’s one of those things I just need to stay on top of and hopefully it doesn’t really flare up."
Australia are facing an unprecedented schedule across the next 12 months; the Ashes tour will be followed by a trip to the Caribbean in early September before a home series against Sri Lanka later the same month.
The first standalone WBBL will follow before a T20I tri-series featuring England and India leads into next year’s T20 World Cup in February and March.
It’s a packed period that coach Matthew Mott concedes will require careful planning and management – and some players needing to accept they simply can’t play every game – but it could also be greater opportunities for players like Carey who are trying to cement a spot in the team.
"It means more games and more opportunities and I'm not sure if people will need rest, but maybe it will present more opportunities for players,” she said.
"It’s a pretty hard team to crack into, but I guess all I can do is continue to improve my game and put performances on the board whenever I get an opportunity, whether it’s (for Australia) or domestically.
"I can't really control the whole selection side of things and the group is in a really good place. But if I did get an opportunity I’d definitely try and take it with both hands."
CommBank Ashes Tour of England
First ODI Grace Road, Leicester, July 2
Second ODI Grace Road, Leicester, July 4
Third ODI St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury, July 7
First T20 County Ground, Chelmsford, July 26
Second T20 The County Ground, Hove, July 28
Third T20 Bristol County Ground, Bristol, July 31
A Test victory is worth four points (two each for a draw), two points are awarded for ODI and T20 wins