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Coyte makes most of unexpected chance

WBBL|03 Final star Sarah Coyte will wait to make a call on her playing future after a whirlwind return to cricket

Sydney Sixers' player of the Rebel WBBL|03 final Sarah Coyte says she will wait for the dust to settle on a whirlwind return to elite cricket before making a call on her playing future.

In just her fourth game for the season, the 26-year-old produced a brilliant effort with the ball in Sunday's decider, snaring 3-17 and getting the ball rolling with the huge wicket of Perth Scorchers captain Elyse Villani.

But when asked after the match if the remarkable return - she took 10-81 across four matches - was enough to tempt her to keep going at the top level, a relaxed-sounding Coyte said she was undecided.

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"I'm unsure, to be honest," she said. "I really like the life I have now. I like my work and going home at the end of the day and not having to pack a bag and go to an airport.

"But you never know what the future holds.

"I'm not putting any ideas in people's heads, I'm not getting anyone's hopes up - even my hopes up.

"I'm just going to take each day as it comes, and for now enjoy the rest of the day with the girls and go back home, back to reality."

The former Australia and Adelaide Strikers bowling allrounder had announced her retirement from all forms of cricket last March to focus on her mental health.

But with South Africa pair Marizanne Kapp and Dane van Niekerk called home late in the season for national team duties, Coyte received a surprise call from Sixers coach Ben Sawyer.

The offer of a spot on the Sixers roster gave Coyte pause for thought, though the decision to return to the elite level was not an easy one for the 26-year-old.

"It was a call out of the blue," Coyte, who joined the Sixers alongside England import Amy Jones, said. "Ben said he noticed I'd played a grade game of cricket back home in Sydney - and I had, but only like one or two.

"I hung up (after that call) and mulled it over a bit. I called my dad. Obviously, I had a lot to think about: how it would affect my mental state, how it would affect work and everything like that.

"I'm not really sure why I agreed to do it, but it's actually worked out pretty well - I can't complain about it.

"I think part of me was was just curious to see what I still had left in the tank and if it would rekindle a bit of love for the game."

Coyte crushes Scorchers in final

When Coyte made her return against her former Rebel WBBL side on the final weekend of the regular season, it looked like she had never been away from the game.

She took 5-32 across two games against the Strikers at Hurstville Oval, including a player-of-the-match haul of 3-18 last Sunday.

She followed up with a handy 2-32 in the semi-final, again against the Strikers, and stepped up a notch in the WBBL|03 decider, taking 3-17.

The swing bowler struck with the first wicket of the day, claiming the scalp of Villani (16). It triggered a 3-6 mini-collapse, but seriously derailed the Scorchers' quest.

Coyte said she had "some pretty sleepless nights" leading up to her return, but with good support from her family back in her home state of New South Wales, she got through the build up and the game "pretty cruisy".

"It took me a few overs to get into the game - my mindset sort of wasn't there, but once I started moving, it just came back to me naturally," she said.

"It was good to get those two games out of the way and coming into finals, weirdly enough, I didn't feel that nervous for these last few games.

"It has been more fun (this time around), but only because I found more of a balance within myself with all the training around cricket and being away from my family.

"I think having a strong support network at home has really helped my transition back into the last couple of weeks.

"I've figured out what works for me and what keeps me in a good place when I'm at the ground and getting ready for the game."

Sixers captain Ellyse Perry lauded Sawyer's decision to invite Coyte into the squad, a move which allowed the Sixers to keep their winning momentum rolling despite losing two key players at the pointy end of the season.

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"Firstly, it was an absolute masterstroke from Ben Sawyer," the Sixers skipper said. "He noticed she'd been playing some grade cricket and just gave her a call and asked her if she'd be interested.

"Secondly - and most importantly - it's been a real inspiration, not only for girls in our team, but I hope for lots of young girls who have watched her play.

"Coytey has got an extraordinary story. She's so strong, she's such a fighter. She's been really brave in what she's gone through and how she's spoken about it and she's come through it, as well.

"To see her perform on the biggest stage - under a lot of pressure today - and to do it so well, and to just slot back into the team the way that she has is a true testament to the character of her, and how brave she is."

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